Philodendron speciosum Schott ex Endl.
  • Gen. Pl. 1(3): 237 (1837) 

Notes: Distribution: Bolivia to Brazil

General Description

STEM: erect and decumbent, branching in horizontal portion, erect portion 50- 100 cm tall, stout, trunk-like, 6-9 cm thick; adventitious roots relatively few on aerial part of stem, running down stem, not widely spreading; internodes extremely short, < 1 mm long, dark brown; prophyll scars 1-4 mm long, longer and paler than internodes, greyish; intravaginal squamules short, 1-2 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, flattened-triangular to ± square, inconspicuous, situated on internode on either side and below each foliage leaf scar; foliage leaf scars suborbicular to transverse-elliptic, 5-7 cm wide, whitish- to silvery-grey. LEAF: prophyll green with maroon-red apical margin, deciduous; petiole 68-100 cm long, 0 8-1 cm diam. at apex, broadly sulcate adaxially with sharply-angled margins, at apex with a shallow central adaxial ridge and often with transverse-rugulose epidermis, sheath c. 13-5 cm long; leaf blade sagittate, margins repand, overall length 62-96 cm, overall width 43-60 cm, upper surface dark ± glossy green with ± concolorous primary lateral veins, lower surface paler, the primary lateral veins paler still and with slight pink to purplish tinge; anterior division 45-60 cm long, 40-60 cm wide, apex acute to obtuse with acuminate to cuspidate tip, primary lateral veins 5(-6) per side, arising at an angle of 40-75°, cross veinlets between finest parallel veins usually distinct in dried material, especially near margin; posterior divisions usually somewhat introrse, (15-)22-36 cm long, (0.2-)0.3-0.4 x overall blade length, 19-33 cm wide, basal ribs denuded proximally on basiscopic side for (3.5-)5-7 cm, tip acute to obtuse and rounded at extremity, primary acroscopic veins 3-4, primary basiscopic veins (2-)4-7(-9), basiscopic lamina areas well-developed, sometimes overlapping. INFLORESCENCE: peduncle shorter than spathe, 5- 13( — 26?) cm long, (1.1 -)1.7-3.4 cm diam. at apex, strongly tapering to base, exerted a little from leaf sheath; spathe 21-32 cm long, 4-4.5 cm diam. at middle, ± cylindric, even in fruit swollen only slightly in basal half, decurrent for 4-5.5 cm, outer surface dull darkish green with red-maroon margin, inner surface carmine-magenta apically becoming ± green at very base; spadix (14-)15.5-30 cm long, sometimes distinctly shorter than spathe, fertile male zone 5-10 cm long, 2-3 cm diam., ± cylindric, sterile male zone 6-7 cm long, 1.6-2.7 cm diam., somewhat thicker towards the base, female zone c. 4 cm long, 1.5 cm diam. FLOWERS: stamens 3-4 per flower, 6.2-6.5 mm long, 0.6-1.2 mm diam. at apex, shorter and thicker at base of male zone; staminodes 6-8 per flower, those in upper portion of sterile zone 4-4.5 mm long, 1.7-1.8 mm diam. at apex, those in lower portion 5-5.5 mm long, 2.3 - 2.4 mm diam. at apex, clavate usually with flattened apex, somewhat prismatic, tapering and twisting to one side towards base; gynoecium 5-5.5 mm long, ovary subcylindric-ovoid, c. 3 mm long, 2.7 mm diam., raphide cells common in septa, upper ovary walls and ovary axis, locules 9-11 per ovary, ovules 2-3(-4) per locule, inserted on basal half of axis, style body lacking, base of style crown slightly narrower than ovary, densely filled with druse cells immediately above ovary locules, compitum penetrating deeply into ovary to halfway down ovary axis, strongly ridged to base, raphide cells common around basal part, style crown strongly lobed, style lobes spreading with dense concentrations of druse cells and sparse tannin cells in subepidermal tissue of dorsal surface, central dome lacking, stylar canals short and entering locules about halfway down, stigma c. 4 mm diam., lacking tannin hairs, hairs inserted all over style lobes except on dorsal surface. INFRUCTESCENCE: berry compressed-cylindric, rhomboid at base, ± cylindric at apex, 1.2 - 1.3 cm long, 0.9-1 cm diam. at apex, yellow-orange; seed compressed ovoid-ellipsoid, 1-3 per locule, 5-5 5 mm long, 2.7-3.1 mm diam., testa very thick, ± opaque forming a sarcotesta surrounding ± cylindric inner body comprising inner integument, endosperm and embryo.


Terrestrial, rupicolous (S. Mayo et al. 602) or hemi-epiphytic (Duarte 4129), rainforest or low scrubby forest on granite outcrop by sea.


Bolivia to Brazil.


The interesting work of Theodoro and Gustavo Peckolt (Peckolt & Peckolt 1890) gives a short but accurate botanical description, the three vernacular names cited above and the following medicinal uses (transl.):- 'The leaves and stem possess a sharply caustic sap and when crushed are used as apoultice to heal boils ["tumores"]. Witchdoctors boil the crushed leaves with urine and use the liquid topically to treat pains in the joints. The seeds are used commonly in a dose of 4-6 grains as a remedy for intestinal worms (anthelmintic). The root, reduced to powder, is used in a dose of 0.3 - 1 gram'.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil Southeast
  • Brazil West-Central
  • Western South America Bolivia


  • 1 Nadruz Coelho, M.A. (2010). A família Araceae na reserva natural Vale, Linhares, Espírito Santo, Brasil. Boletim do Museu de Biologia Mello Leitão , n.s., 28: 41-87.
  • 2 Almeida, V.R., Temponi, L.G. & Forzza, R.C. (2005). Araceae da Reserva Biológica da Represa do Grama - Descoberto, Minas gerais, Brasil. Rodriguésia; Revista do Instituto de Biologia Vegetal, Jardim Botânico e Estaçao Biologica do Itatiaya 56: 127-144.
  • 3 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.
  • 4 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 5 Mayo, S.Joseph A revision of Philodendron subgenus Meconostigma (Araceae). Kew Bull. 46 (4), (1991).

 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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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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