Philodendron mexicanum Engl.
  • C.F.P.von Martius & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Bras. 3(2): 143 (1878) 

Notes: Distribution: Mexico to C. America

General Description

Usually hemiepiphytic, sometimes terrestrial or epilithic; stem scandent, leaf scars conspicuous, 1--1.5 cm long, 1.3--1.6 cm wide; internodes scurfy, glaucous to semiglossy, 18--21 cm long, 1--2 cm diam., longer than broad, medium green to gray-green, epidermis blistering, fissured more or less transversely; roots branched at tips, sometimes with swollen nodes along length; cataphylls fleshy, 10--23 cm long, unribbed or bluntly 1-ribbed, pale green, glossy, drying yellowish tan to yellowish green, deciduous intact. LEAVES: Petioles 22--66.5 cm long, 2--13 mm diam., terete, moderately spongy, medium green, somewhat flattened adaxially, surface semiglossy; blades narrowly triangular-sagittate to triangular-hastate, subcoriaceous, acuminate to long-acuminate at apex, sagittate to hastate at base, 23--46 cm long, 14--38 cm wide (1.3--2.7 times longer than wide), (0.6--1.5 times longer than petiole), about equal in length to petiole, margins weakly undulate, upper surface dark green, drying dark brownish green, semiglossy, lower surface drying yellowish green, weakly glossy, paler; medial lobe 19--38 cm long, 8--20 cm wide (1.7--2.7 times longer than posterior lobes), usually 3--3.5 times longer than wide (rarely to 1.7 times longer than wide); posterior lobes 7--19.5 cm long, 4--12.6 cm wide, directed somewhat toward the base, rounded to rarely rounded; sinus parabolic to hippocrepiform or spathulate; midrib broadly sunken, concolorous above, convex, sparsely orange-spotted, slightly paler than surface below; basal veins 0--1(2--5) per side, with 0--1(2--5) free to base, or 1 coalesced, the third and fourth coalesced 3.6--4(13) cm; posterior rib not naked or naked for 0.5--2 cm, directed straight toward the tip of the blade and remaining 1.5--3.5 cm distant from blade margin; primary lateral veins (2)4--5(6) per side, departing midrib at a 55--65º angle, more or less straight to the margins, weakly sunken above, raised below; minor veins moderately distinct below, arising from both the midrib and primary lateral veins. INFLORESCENCES 1 per axil; peduncle 4--15 cm long, 4--12 mm diam.; spathe glossy, 8--16.5 cm long, 1.9--2.3 cm diam. (0.8--1.4(1.5--2.4) times longer than peduncle), acute at apex, the margins paler to clear within; spathe blade greenish to whitish outside; resin canals pale range and appearing as continuous lines inside; spathe tube greenish, sometimes pale reddish tinged outside; red-violet to maroon (B & K Red-Purple 5/7.5) inside; spadix sessile; bluntly rounded to somewhat acute at apex, 10.5--14.7 cm long, broadest toward the apex, constricted below the middle of fertile staminate portion; pistillate portion pale green to green to pale yellow, cylindrical to obovoid, 2-6 cm long, 1 cm diam. at apex, 1.1 cm diam. at middle, 1.3 cm wide at base; staminate portion (6.4)10.3--12.7 cm long; fertile staminate portion creamy white, more or less cylindrical, 6--17 mm diam. at base, 7--15 mm diam. at middle, 1.1 cm diam. ca. 1 cm from apex, about as broad as the pistillate and the sterile portions; sterile staminate portion usually broader than the pistillate portion, white to light gray, 1--1.2 cm diam.; pistils 1.6--2(3.5) mm long, 1.1--1.3(2.6) mm diam., transparent white; ovary 5--7-locular, 0.9--2.7 mm long, 1.2--1.4(2.3-2.6) mm diam., with sub-basal placentation; locules 0.9--1.1(2.5) mm long, 0.2--0.4(0.6--0.7) mm diam.; ovule sac 0.6--0.7 mm long; ovules 1--2(3) per locule, digitate, contained within transparent ovule sac, 0.3--0.6(1.1) mm long, longer than funicle; funicle 0.3 mm long, style 0.7(1) mm long, 1.2--1.5(2.4) mm diam., similar to style type B; style apex domed; stigma discoid, at least sometimes lobed both laterally and vertically, sometimes more or less cylindrical, 0.7--1.0 mm diam., 0.1--0.3 mm high, covering center of style apex, at least sometimes drying with radial arms sunken between the central peak and the peaks on the end of the arms (Croat & Hannon 64520); the androecium truncate, margins irregularly 4--6-sided; thecae more or less cylindrical, 0.3--0.4 mm wide, more or less parallel to one another; sterile staminate flowers bluntly or acutely 4--6-sided, 1.3--1.9 mm long, 1.3--1.8 mm wide. INFRUCTESCENCE with seeds 1 per locule, yellowish orange, 1.5--1.9 mm long, 0.6--0.8 mm diam.


Ranging from dry habitats in west-central Mexico (both "Selva Baja Caducifolia" and "Bosque Pino-Encino") to more humid sites on the Atlantic slope in Vera Cruz to as far south as Honduras in Tropical moist forest and to Costa Rica in Premontane wet forest. Though widespread, this species is apparently rare and has been collected from relatively few localities, often restricted to mesic enclaves in otherwise arid regions as in the state of Morelos, Mexico. It is one of the most ecologically versitile species in the genus.


Ranges from Mexico to Colombia.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Central
  • Mexico Gulf
  • Mexico Southwest
  • Southern America Central America Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras


  • 1 Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • 2 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.
  • 3 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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