Rhodospatha Poepp.
  • E.F.Poeppig & S.L.Endlicher, Nov. Gen. Sp. Pl. 3: 91 (1845) 

Notes: Distribution: Mexico to Trop. America

General Description

Appressed epiphytic climber or sometimes terrestrial, rooting at the nodes; juvenile plants terrestrial, with long internodes; preadult plants with increasingly longer internodes; adult plants with internodes short, unbranched to branched; terrestrial plants with the STEMS reclining in age. LEAVES spiral or distichous, erect-spreading; petioles about equaling the blades, amplexicaule at base, sheathed throughout much of their length, geniculate at apex; the sheath persistent or deciduous; blades oblong to oblong-elliptic, typically drying dark, rarely pale green, slightly unequal at the base, sometimes slightly inequilateral; midrib sunken above, prominently raised below; primary lateral veins numerous, usually closely spaced, spreading nearly straight or slightly arcuate to the margins, lacking collective veins; interprimary veins numerous, typically much less conspicuous than primary lateral veins. INFLORESCENCE erect, much shorter than the leaves; peduncle short, longer or shorter than the spathe; spathe broadly ovate or oblong-ovate, abruptly cuspidate, moderately coriaceous, longitudinally veined, typically white or pink, soon deciduous; spadix sessile or stipitate, cylindroid, slightly tapered toward apex or toward both ends, densely many-flowered. Flowers naked, perfect or rarely with only pistillate flowers at the base, arranged in a series of spirals; stamens 4, the filaments broad, complanate, narrowed to the slender, acuminate connective; anthers rather broad, the thecae ellipsoid, longer than the connective, dehiscent by lateral slits; ovary 4-angled, 2-celled, the ovules several or numerous per cell, amphitropous; style thicker than the ovary, the stigma usually slit-like with or without a weakly raised rim, persisting in fruit. INFRUCTESCENCES with berries small, cylindric-prismatic, truncate, usually not colorful, 10-12 seeded; seeds attached by short funicles, ventrically imbricate, rounded-reniform, lentiform, the testa minutely verruculose.

HABIT : evergreen, usually climbing herbs, producing flagelliform shoots. LEAVES : many, distichously arranged. PETIOLE : geniculate apically, sheath long, persistent to marcescent. BLADE : oblong-elliptic, ± oblique, always entire; primary lateral veins pinnate, numerous, running into ± distinct marginal vein, secondary and tertiary laterals parallel-pinnate, higher order venation transverse-reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : usually solitary. PEDUNCLE : shorter to longer than petiole. SPATHE : broadly ovate or oblong-ovate, abruptly cuspidate, yellowish white, cream, purplish or pink within, caducous after anthesis. SPADIX : long-stipitate to sessile, cylindric-conic, basal flowers sometimes sterile or female and scattered. FLOWERS : bisexual, perigone absent. STAMENS : 4, filaments linear-oblong, flattened, connective slender, thecae ovoid to ellipsoid, dehiscing by longitudinal slit. POLLEN : extruded in strands, fully zonate or inaperturate, hamburger-shaped or ellipsoid to oblong, medium-sized (mean 47 µm., range 34-57 µm.), exine densely to sparsely foveolate and nearly psilate to obscurely fossulate or verrucate. GYNOECIUM : compressed obconic to cylindric, ovary 2-locular, ovules usually numerous per locule, rarely few (R. venosa), anatropous to hemianatropous, funicle fairly long, placenta axile, rarely subbasal, style well-developed, broader than ovary, prismatic, truncate to convex apically, stigma elliptic to linear, usually oriented in long axis of spadix. BERRY : cylindric-prismatic, truncate, many- to few-seeded. SEEDS : rounded-reniform, flattened, testa brittle, very hard, smooth or with verrucose crest, embryo rather large, strongly curved, endosperm present but sparse.

Diagnostic Description

Evergreen, climbing hemiepiphytes; trichosclereids abundant; leaf blades entire, oblong-elliptic, secondary and tertiary veins parallel-pinnate, fine venation transversely reticulate; spathe deciduous after flowering; flowers bisexual, perigone absent. Differs from Stenospermation in climbing hemiepiphytic habit, axile placentation, seeds flattened, rounded-reniform. Differs from Monstera in having entire leaf blades, seeds less than 3 mm long and lenticelular and in the presence of endosperm.


Tropical humid forest; climbing hemiepiphytes, true epiphytes (?) or sometimes on rocks, juvenile plants often on forest floor.


Mexico to Trop. America.

Species 60 from S. Mexico to the Guianas, Brazil, and Bolivia..

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Southeast
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Brazil Northeast
  • Brazil Southeast
  • Central America Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • 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 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 3 Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. The Genera of Araceae. (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: 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
  • B   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • C All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
  • D 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; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
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