Philodendron sagittifolium Liebm.
  • Vidensk. Meddel. Naturhist. Foren. Kjøbenhavn 1: 17 (1849) 

Notes: Distribution: Mexico to Venezuela

General Description

Usually hemiepiphytic, rarely terrestrial or epilithic; stem appressed-climbing, parchment-white, sap turning blackish, slimy; internodes usually terete, weakly angular, sometimes obscurely flattened on one side or closely and acutely ribbed, semiglossy to matte, 1-20 cm long, 1.5 - 4 cm diam., dark green, becoming usually gray-green to brown, sometimes pale yellow-green, epidermis somewhat ridged ("wrinkled"), sometimes fissured transversely; roots reddish brown, 6 - 10 mm long, 3 - 5 mm diam., arising from and along the node on one side; cataphylls 18 - 39 cm long, usually weakly 1-ribbed, sometimes unribbed or weakly to sharply 2-ribbed or sharply 1-ribbed (ribs to 1 cm high), soft, green, sometimes reddish to pinkish, sometimes sparsely green-spotted, purple-maroon or darker striate near base, drying reddish brown, margins sometimes prominently and thinly raised, usually soon deciduous, rarely persisting as a rotting mass, rounded at apex. LEAVES: Petioles 20-65(91) cm long, 3-15 mm diam., usually subterete, moderately spongy to firm, medium green, drying greenish brown, obtusely flattened, usually obtusely and narrowly sulcate, rarely obtusely and broadly sulcate adaxially, surface minutely and densely short purple- or occasionally white-striate, sometimes dark green or violet-purple blotched, sometimes smooth to irregularly ribbed and folded; sheath subtending an inflorescence, 5÷8 cm long; blades ovate to ovate-triangular, semiglossy, moderately coriaceous, weakly to moderately bicolorous, acuminate to narrowly acuminate, sometimes short-acuminate at apex, prominently cordate to ± sagittate at base, 30÷72 cm long, 15÷39 cm wide (1.85-2 times longer than wide), (0.6÷1.6 limes longer than petiole), margins somewhat hyaline, weakly revolute, upper surface medium green, drying brownish green to greenish brown, semiglossy, lower surface pale yellow-green, sometimes reddish, drying usually reddish brown, sometimes yellowish brown, weakly glossy to matte; anterior lobe 24÷61 cm long, 13-34.5 cm wide (2÷5.1(5.5÷6.4) times longer than posterior lobes); posterior lobes usually narrowly rounded, 6-20.5 cm long, 5-17.6 cm wide; sinus ± V-shaped to almost closed, 6÷15 cm deep; midrib flat to weakly raised, paler than surface, drying broadly raised and ± concolorous above, convex to narrowly raised, sometimes maroon-spotted or with white flecks, concolorous to darker than surface, drying broadly raised and reddish below; basal veins 3-5(6) per side, with 0÷1(2) free to base, third and higher order veins sometimes coalesced 2.5÷4.5 cm, a few additional veins sometimes coalesced to 6.5 cm; posterior rib not at all naked or only briefly so; primary lateral veins 4÷9 per side, departing midrib al a 60 - 70º angle, weakly curved to the margins, but usually turned prominently up just before the margin, rather prominently downtumed just before the midrib, round-raised to flat to obtusely sunken and paler than surface above, convex, concolorous to darker than surface below; interprimary veins weakly sunken, concolorous above, flat, darker than surface below; minor veins weakly visible below, arising from both the midrib and primary lateral veins, drying moderately prominent, weakly undulate, alternating with dark, mostly contiguous secretory ducts. INFLORESCENCES erect, 1-3 per axil; peduncle 4-15 cm long, 1.6-1.8 cm diam., somewhat flattened to terete, green, sometimes tinged reddish, drying greenish, densely short and broad striate; spathe 8-22 cm long, 2-3 cm diam. (0.8-2.2 times lunger than peduncle), weakly to obscurely constricted above the tube, semiglossy, usually green, sometimes plum-red, often purple-spotted, densely short pale lineate throughout, weakly so near apex, blunt to narrowly cuspidate-acuminate to prominently acuminate, frequently tinged purplish violet at base; spathe blade green to pale yellow-green, 8 -11 cm long (opening 3-4.3 cm wide, sometimes opening to near the base), greenish white, weakly tinged red-purple in throat to pale yellow-green or white inside, sometimes reddish throughout in age; resin canals appearing as continuous lines, red-purple to orange in color, spathe tube green, sometimes moderately to heavily tinged red-purple to red (B & K red-purple 3/7.5), with sparse, dark purplish spots (mostly medially) throughout outside, 4 - 7 cm long, 2.5 - 3.5 cm diam., red to reddish purple (B & K red-purple 3/7.5), white striate inside; spadix stipitate to 7 mm long; tapered toward apex, (8)9 - 16 cm long, broadest below the middle or near the base, usually protruding somewhat forward at anthesis but not curved; npistillate portion pale green (anthesis) to greenish white to yellow-green (post-anthesis), uniformly wide throughout or weakly tapered toward both ends, 2.5 - 6.2 cm long in front, 2-A.7 cm long in back, 1-1.2 cm diam. at apex, 1.1-1.7(2.1) cm diam. at middle, 1.1÷1.7 cm wide at base; slaminate portion 6.3 - 10.3(13) cm long; fertile staminate portion usually creamy white, sometimes pale green to pinkish, 9-13 mm diam. at base, 11-13 mm diam. at middle, 8 - 10 mm diam. ca. 1 cm from apex, broadest at base or middle, about as broad as the pistillate and sterile portions; sterile staminate portion often broader than the pistillate portion, white, (0.9-1)1.2-1.9 cm diam.; pistils (0.9)1.8-4.4 mm long, (0.9)1.3-2.3 mm diam.; ovary 6 - 9-locular, 1 - 1.7(3) mm long, 1.3 - 2.3 mm diam., with sub-basal placentalion; locules 1-1.7(3) mm long, 0.2-0.4 mm diam.; ovule sac (0.6)0.8-1.2 mm long; ovules usually 2-4, rarely 5 - 8 per locule, 1-seriate (2-seriate, if 4 or more ovules), usually contained within translucent, gelatinous ovule sac, sometimes contained within gelatinous matrix (no true envelope), 0.1 - 0.5 mm long, usually longer than funicle; funicle 0.1 - 0.3 mm long (can be pulled free to base), sometimes adnate to lower part of partition, style (0.4)0.6-0.8 mm long, (0.8)1.2-1.6 mm diam., similar to style type B; style apex flat to sloping; stigma discoid or subdiscoid. truncate, (0.7)1-1.5 mm diam., (0.1)0.3-0.5 mm high, covering entire style apex, sometimes shallowly depressed at middle; the androecium truncate, prismatic, oblong, margins irregularly 4-6-sided to weakly ovate, ca. 1 mm long, 1.6-2 mm diam. at apex; thecae oblong, 0.4÷0.6 mm wide, ± parallel to one another, sometimes contiguous; sterile staminate flowers blunt, irregularly 4-6-sided, sometimes clavate or prismatic, 1.4 - 2.1 mm long, 1.4÷2 mm wide. INFRUCTESCENCE pink, green at base with reddish spots outside; berries pale yellowish, rarely orange, with stigmas reddish brown, 7 mm long; seeds 2 - 3 per locule, drying pale brown to tannish brown, narrowly ellipsoid to oblong-ellipsoid, 1.4-2 mm long, 0.7-0.9 mm diam., with faint striations.


It is probably the most morphologically variable, and one of the most ecologically versatile, species in Central America. In Mexico, this species occurs in "Selva Alta Perennifolia," "Selva Mediana Subperennifolia," "Selva Baja Caducifolia," and "Bosque Caducifolio." In the remainder of Central America, it occurs principally in Tropical moist forest and Premontane wet forest, but also in Premontane rain forest and Tropical wet forest life zones.


Ranges from Mexico (Veracruz) to Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Central
  • Mexico Gulf
  • Mexico Southeast
  • Mexico Southwest
  • Southern America Central America Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America Venezuela
  • Western South America Colombia
Introduced into
  • Pacific North-Central Pacific Hawaii


  • 1 Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
  • 2 Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • 3 Hernandez, J. (2007). In Hawaiian rainforests: exotic aroid ecologies. Aroideana 30: 91-97.
  • 4 Hammel, B.E. & al. (2003). Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica 2: 1-694. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
  • 5 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.
  • 6 Stevens, W.D., Ulloa U., C., Pool, A. & Montiel, O.M. (2001). Flora de Nicaragua. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 85: i-xlii, 1-2666.
  • 7 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.
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Global Biodiversity Information Facility
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eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
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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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