Caladium Vent.
  • Mag. Encycl. 4: 463 (1800) 

Notes: , nom. cons. Distribution: C. & S. Trop. America

General Description

HABIT : seasonally dormant or evergreen herbs, stem tuberous, subglobose. LEAVES : several. PETIOLE : sheath distinct. BLADE : usually peltate, sometimes not (C. lindenii), often variegated, cordate-sagittate or sagittate, rarely trisect (C. ternatum); basal ribs well-developed, primary lateral veins pinnate, forming submarginal collective vein, 1-2 marginal veins also present, secondary and tertiary laterals arising from the primaries at a wide angle, forming interprimary collective vein, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 1-2 in each floral sympodium, appearing with or before leaves. PEDUNCLE : rather long, often as long as petiole. SPATHE : constricted, tube with convolute margins, usually ventricose-globose, persistent, green, eventually splitting in fruit, blade white, boat-shaped, gaping, marcescent after anthesis and deciduous. SPADIX : a little shorter than spathe, stipitate, densely flowered, female zone cylindric-conoid or ellipsoid, separated from male by longer, subconic to attenuate, basally thicker zone of sterile male flowers, male zone fertile to apex, subcylindric to subclavate, more than twice as long as female zone. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 3-5-androus, stamens connate into obpyramidal, truncate to ± convex, sinuously subhexagonal synandrium, common connective thick, thecae lateral, extending nearly to base of synandrium, oblong-lanceolate, dehiscing by short apical slit. POLLEN : extruded in strands, shed in monads, inaperturate, spherical to subspheroidal, medium-sized (mean 41 µm., range 38-43 µm.), exine psilate or obscurely dimpled or verruculate. STERILE MALE FLOWERS : synandrodes depressed-obpyramidal, compressed, truncate, lowermost larger and prismatic, uppermost narrow and elongated. FEMALE FLOWER : gynoecium cylindric to obconic, ovary 1-2(-3)-locular, ovules 1-20, anatropous, funicle short, placentae subbasal, pseudoaxile or parietal, stylar region free or rarely coherent (C. paradoxum), as broad as ovary or broader in obconic gynoecia, stigma nearly as wide as ovary. BERRY : 1-many-seeded (C. ternatum usually 1- seeded), white. SEED : ovoid to ellipsoid, raphe somewhat prominent, integument succulent, testa thick, longitudinally costate, costae angled, embryo axile, elongate, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Tuberous geophytes; leaves usually peltate, blade often variegated, cordate-sagittate, sagittate or rarely trisect, fine venation reticulate, inframarginal collective vein present; spathe strongly constricted, blade withering immediately after anthesis, tube persistent; spadix fertile to apex; flowers unisexual, perigone absent; male flowers forming a truncate synandrium, pollen shed in monads. Differs from Scaphispatha in spathe tube always convolute at anthesis, well developed sterile flowers between male and female zones, stylar region as broad as ovary (Caladium paradoxum has discoid, coherent stylar regions), placentas 1-2 (-3), parietal to subbasal.


Tropical humid forest, open woodlands; geophytes, forest floor, river margins and damp sites.


C. & S. Trop. America.


Descr. Pl. Nouv. Jard. Cels, 30 (1800); F.T.A. 8: 165.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Africa West Tropical Africa Burkina
  • Asia-Tropical Malesia Malaya
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Brazil Northeast
  • Brazil South
  • Brazil Southeast
  • Brazil West-Central
  • Central America Costa Rica
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Southern South America Argentina Northwest
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
Introduced into
  • Africa West Tropical Africa Benin
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Central African Republic
  • Gabon
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Western Indian Ocean Seychelles
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Bangladesh
  • India
  • Indo-China Andaman Is.
  • Nicobar Is.
  • Pacific South-Central Pacific Society Is.
  • Southwestern Pacific Gilbert Is.
  • Wallis-Futuna Is.
  • Southern America Caribbean Cayman Is.
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Leeward Is.
  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuelan Antilles
  • Windward Is.


  • 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 Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. Continental Publishing, Deurne.
  • 3 F.n. Hepper (1968) Araceae. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3(1)
  • 4 Goncalves, E.G., Santos, A.Henrique d & Miller, P.Richard Mo A New Combination for a Brazilian Aroid. Aroideana; Journal of the International Aroid Society 35, 39 (2012).
  • 5 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 6 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
Flora of West Tropical Aftrica (FWTA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • B All Rights Reserved
  • C
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • D All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • E 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
  • F See 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.