Philodendron heleniae Croat
  • Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 84: 465 (1997) 

Notes: Distribution: Panama to W. South America

General Description

Usually hemiepiphytic, rarely terrestrial; vining or appressed-climbing, stem appressed-climbing to somewhat scandent, sap tannish; internodes scurfy, 4--12 cm long, 2--3 cm diam., much longer than broad, medium green, drying reddish brown, epidermis smooth or irregularly folded and ridged, sometimes fissured with minute cracks perpendicular to axis, drying with folds longitudinally and usually with fissures transversely; roots dark brown, to 50 cm long, 1--2 mm diam.; cataphylls thin, 15--36 cm long, 1-ribbed to sharply 1-ribbed, or sharply 2-ribbed, green, tinged red, speckled violet-purple, deciduous, rounded, apiculate at apex; LEAVES: petioles 14--41.5 cm long, 6--10 mm diam., more or less terete or to slightly thicker than broad, or bluntly D-shaped, firm, medium green, tinged violet-purple at base and apex, bluntly flattened adaxially; geniculum 9 mm long thicker and paler than petiole; blades narrowly ovate, subcoriaceous to coriaceous, strongly bicolorous, acuminate at apex (the acumen sometimes apiculate, inrolled, 5 mm long), usually weakly subcordate, sometimes obtuse, truncate or rounded at base, 25--52 cm long, 6--26 cm wide (2--3.37(4.2) times longer than wide), (1.1--1.8(2.30) times longer than petiole), upper surface dark green, semiglossy, drying yellow-brown, lower surface much paler and with dark secretory canals, weakly glossy to matte, drying yellowish to reddish brown; sinus arcuate, 1--1.5 cm deep when present; midrib broadly convex or weakly raised to flat, pale green above, bluntly acute and thicker than broad, reddish slightly paler than surface below; basal veins lacking; primary lateral veins (6--7)8--10(11--13) per side, departing midrib at a 30--40º angle, weakly and narrowly sunken above, raised and paler than surface below; minor veins weakly visible, arising from the midrib only, often interspersed with intermittant secretory ducts, the surface often minutely granular below. INFLORESCENCES 2--10 per axil; peduncle 2--6 cm long, 4--6 mm diam., green, tinged red to reddish; spathe recurved (curved downward), semiglossy, 5--10 cm long (1.2--2.5 times longer than peduncle), reddish maroon throughout; spathe blade paler toward apex outside, white, weakly tinged maroon inside; spathe tube 3--4 cm long, dark maroon inside; spadix sessile; cylindrical to clavate, protruding forward at anthesis, 5.8--7.5 cm long, more or less uniform throughout; pistillate portion pale green to yellowish green, cylindrical to slightly ovoid, 2--3.5 cm long, 5--7 mm diam. throughout; staminate portion cream to white, cylindrical or clavate, 3.4--5 cm long, 6--9 mm diam. at base, 9--10 mm diam. at middle, 5--9 mm diam. ca. 1 cm from apex, broadest at or above the middle, or equally broad throughout, as broad as or slightly broader than the pistillate portion; sterile staminate portion not detectable; pistils 1.4--1.7 mm long, 0.5--1.4 mm diam.; ovary (5)6--9-locular, 0.7 mm long, 0.7 mm diam., locules 0.9--1.2 mm long, 0.3--0.4 mm diam., ovule sac 0.4--1 mm long, with sub-basal placentation; ovules (1)3--4 per locule, 1-seriate, contained within translucent ovule sac, 0.2--0.4 mm long, longer than funicle; funicle 0.1--0.2 mm long, (can be pulled free to base), style 0.2--0.4 mm long, 0.4--0.6 mm diam., similar to style type B; stylar canals tiny, difficult to see emerging; style apex flat; stigma discoid or subdiscoid, unlobed, 0.4--0.5 mm diam., 0.1--0.2 mm high, covering entire style apex except for the center; the androecium truncate, margins 4--6-sided, sometimes weakly scalloped; thecae oblong, 0.1--0.3 mm wide, more or less parallel to one another. INFRUCTESCENCE with berries white, 3.3 mm long, 2.4 mm diam.; seeds ca. 6 per berry, reddish brown, 1--1.1 mm long, 0.3--0.5 mm diam.


Tropical wet forest and Premontane rain forest in Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador. In addition, it occurs in pluvial wet forest in Colombia.


Ranges from Panama (to be expected in the Cordillera de Talamanca in eastern Costa Rica) to Ecuador.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Central America Panamá
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru


  • 1 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Croat, T.Bernard A revision of Philodendron subgenus Philodendron (Araceae) for Mexico and Central America Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 84, (1997).

 Information From

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • A All Rights Reserved
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
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eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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