Spathiphyllum Schott
  • H.W.Schott & S.L.Endlicher, Melet. Bot.: 22 (1832) 

Notes: Distribution: Mexico to Trop. America, Malesia, W. Pacific

General Description

Trichosclereids present. HABIT : evergreen herbs usually with short, erect to creeping stem, appearing acaulescent, sometimes stoloniferous, occasionally erect and climbing. LEAVES : several. PETIOLE : geniculate apically, sheath long. BLADE : oblong to elliptic or narrowly elliptic, cuspidate-acuminate; primary lateral veins pinnate, running into marginal vein, secondary and tertiary laterals parallel-pinnate, higher order venation transverse-reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : solitary. PEDUNCLE : subequal to or longer than petiole. SPATHE : oblong, elliptic, ovate or obovate, cuspidate-acuminate, ± decurrent at insertion, membranaceous to subcoriaceous, fully expanded, rarely fornicate or clasping, persistent, with distinct midrib and pinnate primary lateral veins, usually white, rarely green, turning green in fruit. SPADIX : usually stipitate, rarely sessile, stipe often partially adnate to spathe, spadix cylindric, erect, shorter than spathe. FLOWERS : bisexual, perigoniate; tepals 4-6, free, fornicate and almost truncate at apex, or partly or completely connate into a truncate cup. STAMENS : 4-6, filaments short, oblong, flattened, connective slender, thecae oblong-ellipsoid to ovoid, dehiscing by longitudinal slit. POLLEN : inaperturate, ellipsoid to ellipsoid-oblong, medium-sized (mean 32 µm., range 27-41 µm.), exine striate. GYNOECIUM : ovoid, subcylindric, obovoid or flask-shaped, ovary 3-locular, more rarely 2- or 4-locular, ovules 2, 4, 6 or 8 per locule, anatropous to hemianatropous, placenta axile, stylar region usually long, conic and long-exserted beyond perigone, sometimes shortly attenuate, sometimes ± truncate and not exserted and inconspicuous, stigma 2-3-lobed or subcapitate to punctiform. BERRY : rounded, ovoid to obovoid, or conically attenuate apically, 1-8-seeded, greenish. SEED : oblong, ellipsoid to ovoid or slightly curved and ± reniform, pale yellow to brown, funicle short, testa sparsely foveolate, otherwise smooth or verrucose, embryo axile, elongate, slightly curved, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Evergreen herbs with short, erect to creeping stem; tissues with small trichosclereids occurring in bundles; petiole geniculate apically, sheath long; leaf blade oblong to elliptic, fine venation parallel pinnate; flowers bisexual, perigoniate, tepals free or connate into truncate cup. Differs from Holochlamys in persistent, widely spreading, usually white spathe, and free or connate tepals (Holochlamys always has connate tepals), 2-4-locular ovary, and axile placentation.


Tropical humid forest, rarely cloud forest; forest floor, in wet sites, sometimes on rocks in streams, rarely hemiepiphytic (S. solomonense).


Mexico to Trop. America, Malesia, W. Pacific.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Tropical Malesia Maluku
  • Philippines
  • Sulawesi
  • Papuasia Bismarck Archipelago
  • New Guinea
  • Solomon Is.
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Gulf
  • Mexico Southeast
  • Mexico Southwest
  • Pacific Northwestern Pacific Caroline Is.
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Brazil Northeast
  • Brazil Southeast
  • Brazil West-Central
  • Caribbean Trinidad-Tobago
  • Central America Belize
  • Central American Pacific Is.
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Western South America Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
Introduced into
  • Southern America Caribbean Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuelan Antilles

Included Species


  • 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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