Typhonium Schott
  • Wiener Z. Kunst 3: 72 (1829) 

Notes: Distribution: Mongolia to Trop. Asia and Australia

General Description

HABIT : very small to medium-sized, seasonally dormant or evergreen, rarely pubescent (T. hirsutum) or glandular-pubescent herbs, tuber globose, subglobose or irregular, sometimes rhizomatous or stoloniferous, rarely an epigeal stem (T. fultum). LEAVES : few to several. PETIOLE : apex and middle portion rarely tuberculate, sheath rather short. BLADE : usually cordate-sagittate, sagittate to hastate, trifid, pedatifid or pedatisect, rarely linear, narrowly lanceolate, elliptic-oblong or cordate, apex rarely tuberculate; primary lateral veins of blade or lobes pinnate, forming submarginal collective vein, 1-2 marginal veins also present, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : solitary, appearing with or without (T. hayatae) or after the leaves. PEDUNCLE : shorter than petiole. SPATHE : constricted between tube and blade, tube with convolute or rarely basally connate (T. hirsutum) margins, persistent or rarely evanescent (T. nudibaccatum), blade eventually bending backwards from constriction, broadly ovate to lanceolate, ± acuminate, usually purple, rarely white within, tube persistent, blade marcescent. SPADIX : sessile, shorter, subequal to or much longer than spathe, female zone cylindric, subconic to subglobose, separated from male zone by rather long axis covered either entirely or only in basal part with sterile flowers of various shapes, rarely with sterile flowers above male flowers, male zone cylindric to ellipsoid, usually densely but rarely sparsely flowered (T. albispathum), appendix usually shortly stipitate, rarely with disc-like extension at the base or not stipitate at all (T. hirsutum), smooth, conoid to extremely slender, filiform-subulate, usually long-exserted. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 1-3-androus but usually 1-androus, sometimes 2-3-androus and ± connate, anthers subsessile, connective slender, sometimes prominulent, thecae ovoid to ellipsoid, dehiscing by pore or lateral slit extending to the middle or nearly to the base and confluent apically. STERILE FLOWERS : either all similar or diverse in the same spadix, capitate, clavate to spathulate, cylindric, filiform or subulate, rarely stout and flattened at the tip, or reduced to verrucae, straight to flexuose, suberect, spreading or decurved. POLLEN : extruded in amorphous mass, inaperturate, spherical to subspheroidal, medium-sized (mean 32 µm., range 28-36 µm.), exine spinose (spines very obtuse in e.g. T. trilobatum). FEMALE FLOWER : gynoecia oriented horizontally or vertically, ovary ovoid, ellipsoid or obovoid, 1-locular, ovules 1-3, orthotropous, funicle short, placenta basal, stigma sessile, discoid-hemispheric, facing upwards or sideways. BERRY : ovoid, 1- or rarely 2-seeded, orange-red, green or white. SEED : globose to obnapiform, testa thin, rugulose to smooth, strophiolate, embryo axile, elongate, straight, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Very small to medium-sized seasonally dormant or evergreen geophytes; leaf blade linear-lanceolate to sagittate, hastate or pedatifid, fine venation reticulate; inflorescence appearing with leaves; spathe with constriction, tube sometimes with connate margins; spadix male and female zones widely separated by zone bearing sterile flowers and often partially naked; flowers unisexual, perigone absent; placentation basal.


Warm temperate, subtropical and tropical humid and seasonal forests, secondary forest, cultivated land; geophytes, forest floor, among rocks, wet sites, streamsides, grassy places.


Trop. Africa, Arabian Pen. to Mongolia and Australia.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Temperate China China North-Central
  • China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Hainan
  • Inner Mongolia
  • Eastern Asia Japan
  • Nansei-shoto
  • Ogasawara-shoto
  • Taiwan
  • Mongolia Mongolia
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indo-China Andaman Is.
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Borneo
  • Jawa
  • Lesser Sunda Is.
  • Malaya
  • Philippines
  • Sulawesi
  • Sumatera
  • Papuasia New Guinea
  • Australasia Australia New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • Western Australia
Introduced into
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Tanzania
  • West Tropical Africa Ivory Coast
  • Western Indian Ocean Comoros
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritius
  • Pacific Northwestern Pacific Caroline Is.
  • Marianas
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil Northeast
  • Caribbean Cuba
  • Windward Is.

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 http://e-monocot.org.
  • 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; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.