Spathantheum Schott
  • Bonplandia (Hannover) 7: 164 (1859) 

Notes: Distribution: Peru to N. Argentina

General Description

HABIT : medium-sized, seasonally dormant herbs, tuber depressed-globose, sometimes large. LEAVES : solitary. PETIOLE : sheath very short. BLADE : outline ovate to ovate-cordate, entire or pinnatifid; primary lateral veins pinnate, running into margin, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : usually 1, rarely 2 in each floral sympodium, flowering before leaf. PEDUNCLE : short (S. intermedium) to long (S. orbignyanum), slender. SPATHE : oblong-elliptic, boat-shaped, not constricted, cuspidate, at first convolute basally, then widely gaping at anthesis, green or purple (S. intermedium), entirely persistent. SPADIX : entirely adnate to spathe (S. orbignyanum) or male part free (S. intermedium), slightly shorter than spathe, densely flowered, either female zone basal, contiguous with longer male zone and spadix fertile to apex (S. intermedium, S. orbignyanum), or female and male zones sometimes separated by a zone of mixed male and female flowers (S. orbignyanum). FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 4-7-androus, stamens either connate into a long-stipitate, apically convex, peltate and shallowly 5-7-lobed (stigmatoid) synandrium with anthers almost pendent from thickened common connective, or filaments connate, anthers free and stigmatoids elongated, overtopping anthers (S. intermedium), thecae linear-oblong and dehiscing by longitudinal slit (S. orbignyanum) or subglobose and dehiscing by apical pore (S. intermedium). POLLEN : inaperturate, ellipsoid-oblong, large (mean 54 µm.), exine nearly psilate or shallowly uneven. FEMALE FLOWER : gynoecium surrounded by whorl of 5-8 terete-clavate, short staminodes, ovary ovoid-ellipsoid, 5-8-locular, ovules 1 per locule, suborthotropous, funicle distinct, placenta axile at base of septum, style elongate-attenuate, stigma stellate, 6-8-lobed, lobes subtriangular. BERRY : subglobose to depressed-globose, 5-8-seeded. SEED : shortly ovoid to ± ellipsoid, testa ± smooth to slightly roughened, embryo elongate, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Seasonally dormant tuberous geophytes; leaf solitary; leaf blade cordate to pinnatifid, submarginal collective veins absent, fine venation reticulate; spadix entirely adnate to the spathe; flowers unisexual, perigone absent; male flower a stalked synandrium; female flowers surrounded by a whorl of free staminodes. Differs from Spathicarpa in 6-8-locular ovary and pinnatifid leaf blade.


Tropical and subtropical uplands, mountain grasslands, up to 2400m; geophytes on stony ground in shade, in deposits of humus on rocks.


Peru to N. Argentina.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Southern South America Argentina Northwest
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • 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
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • B All Rights Reserved
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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