Philodendron smithii Engl.
  • Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 26: 540 (1899) 

Notes: Distribution: S. Mexico to C. America

General Description

Usually hemiepiphytic, sometimes terrestrial or epilithic; stem usually appressed-climbing, leaf scars conspicuous, 7 - 15 mm long, 7 - 16 mm wide; internodes glossy, (1)2.2 - 3 cm long, 2 - 3 cm diam., usually longer than broad or about as long as broad, tan or gray-green to dark green, epidermis drying yellow-brown with loose flakes, fissured conspicuously; cataphylls soft, spongy, 12-20 cm long, bluntly to sharply 2-ribbed, green, dark green short-lineate, rounded at apex, drying tannish to yellowish, deciduous, intact. LEAVES: petioles 21.5 - 63 cm long, 4÷16 mm diam., subterete, spongy, medium green, obtusely flattened with obtuse angle toward apex adaxially, surface dark short-lineate, dark with a dark purple-black ring around apex; blades narrowly ovate, subcoriaceous, glossy, moderately bi-colorous, acuminate to long-acuminate at apex (the acumen inrolled, 1-4 mm long), cordate at base, 26.5-53 cm long, 11-31 cm wide (1.2-2.2 times longer than wide), (0.7 - 1.4 times longer than petiole), margins hyaline, convex is lower half of blade, upper surface dark green, drying dark gray-green to yellow-brown, lower surface light greenish, usually drying yellow-green to yellow-brown, sometimes olive-green; anterior lobe 18 - 11 cm long, 18 - 30 cm wide, (1.8 - 2.9 times longer than posterior lobes); posterior lobes (3.2)7.5-16 cm long, 8.7 - 14.2 cm wide, obtuse to broadly rounded; midrib flat to broadly convex, paler than surface above, prominently raised, concolorous below; basal veins (3)4 - 5(6) per side, with 0÷1 free to base, 1-2 coalesced (1.8)2.5-5.5(7.5) cm; posterior rib not at all naked or briefly so, usually 1 - 1.5 cm (rarely to 2 cm); primary lateral veins 3 - 6 per side, darker than surface below, departing midrib at a 50 - 70º angle, ± straight, eventually weakly arcuate to the margins, sunken above, convex below; interprimary veins weakly raised, darker than surface below; minor veins numerous, sparsely visible, darker than surface below, arising from both the midrib and primary lateral veins. INFLORESCENCES erect, 2 per axil; peduncle 9÷22 cm long, (1)9 - 12 mm diam., medium green, moderately spongy; spathe ± erect, 8.8-19.8 cm long, (0.5-1.4 times longer than peduncle), prominently constricted at anthesis; spathe blade yellowish green to green, glossy outside, 7 cm long, 1.7 cm diam., whitish green, minutely white-dotted, sometimes orange-striate inside; spathe tube ellipsoid, green outside, 8.5 cm long, 2.5 cm diam., light red to maroon (B & K red-purple 2/10) inside; spadix stipitate 6 - 15 mm long; gradually to bluntly tapered to apex, 9.3 - 16.9 cm long; pistillate portion pale green to greenish yellow, 3.3 - 5.2 cm long in front, 2.2-2.5 cm long in back, 1.4 cm diam. at apex, 1.3 - 1.6 cm diam. at middle, 1.6 cm wide at base; staminate portion 6.5 - 11.3 cm long; fertile staminate portion creamy white, 9 - 12 mm diam. at base, 1 - 1.2 cm diam. At middle, 5 - 7 mm diam. ca. 1 cm from apex, broadest at the middle, narrower than the pistillate and sterile portions; sterile staminate portion broader than the pistillate portion, creamy white, (9)1.1 - 1.5 cm diam.; pistils 1.8 - 2.3 mm long, 1.1 mm diam., creamy white; ovary 6-8-locular, 0.9÷1.2 mm long, 1 mm diam., Usually with basal, sometimes sub-basal placentation; locules 0.9 - 1.1 mm long, 0.3 - 0.4 mm diam.; ovule sac 0.9(1.2) mm long; ovules 1 per locule, contained within transparent ovule sac, 0.3 - 0.4 mm long, about as long as funicle; funicle 0.3-0.4 mm long (can be pulled free to base), style 0.6 - 0.8 mm long, 1.1 mm diam., similar to style type B; style apex ± sloping; stigma subdiscoid, greenish yellow, 1 mm diam., 0.3 mm high, covering entire style apex; the androecium irregularly 5 - 6-sided, sometimes oblong or quadrangular, 1.6-1.9 mm long, 0.9-1.2 mm diam. At apex; thecae oblong, 0.4-0.5 mm wide, ± parallel to one another and nearly contiguous; sterile staminate flowers blunt, irregularly 4-6-sided, sometimes prismatic, (1)1.6 - 2 mm long, (1.2)1.7 - 1.8 mm wide. INFRUCTESCENCE: Berries while or sometimes yellowish; seeds 1 per locule, tan, oblong, 2 mm long, 0.8 mm diam.


It is known from "Selva Alta Perennifolia" and "Selva Mediana Subpcrennifolia" in Mexico as well as from Tropical moist forest and Subtropical wet forest in Guatemala.


Ranges from Mexico (mostly in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Quintana Roo) to Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on the Atlantic slope.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Southeast
  • Mexico Southwest
  • Southern America Central America Belize
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua


  • 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 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.
  • 4 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
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • B 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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