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 New: Understanding, pronouncing and using Botanical terminology, a Glossary

Anthurium longipeltatum Matuda

Anthurium longipeltatum, Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas,

Anthurium longipeltatum Matuda

Described to science in 1967, the type specimen of Anthurium longipeltatum was found in far south central Mexico in the state of Oaxaca.  Anthurium longipeltatum can be found in nature growing as either a terrestrial species or an epiphyte (ep-a-FIT) on the branches of a host tree.  The species occurs in the northern portion of Oaxaca, near Orizaba, and is suspected to occur in nearby Puebia in tropical wet rain forest at an elevation ranging from 600 to 1,500 meters (1,970 to 4,900 feet). The species is a member of Anthurium section Cordatopunctatum (formerly section Belolonchium).  Anthurium longipeltatum is often confused with Anthurium verapazense which is a species found from Belize to Honduras but not found naturally in Mexico.  One difference in the species is Anthurium verapazense has a violet/purple spadix at the center of its inflorescence while the spathe of Anthurium longipeltatum is green faintly tinged with purple.

Anthurium longipeltatum leaf, Copyright Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comThe leaf blades of  Anthurium longipeltatum stand erect on petioles that measure 29 to 56cm (11.4 to 22 inches) in length.  The petioles which support each leaf measure 5 to 7mm (.2 to .275 inches) in diameter and are terete.  The botanical term terete simply describes a petiole (stem) that is round. 

All Anthurium species possess an organ known as a geniculum.  The geniculum is found at the top of the petiole (see photo below) and normally appears to be a slightly swollen gland on the petiole.  The purpose of the geniculum is to permit the leaf to rotate its orientation in to better collect light.  In  the majority of Anthurium species the geniculum is easily observed, but in immature Anthurium longipeltatum specimens the geniculum may be somewhat difficult to see.  If you look closely at the photo of our specimen below, which is still juvenile, the geniculum is only a very slight bit larger than the petiole.  Still, if you feel the petiole with your fingers you can discern its position.  If you grow Anthurium species examine the top of each petiole and you'll find the geniculum which is a unique feature of the genus Anthurium and a very few other aroid genera.

Anthurium longipetalum geniculum and glandular punctates, Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainoforest.comThe leaf blades of Anthurium longipeltatum are oblanceolate to oblong-ovate.  The scientific term oblanceolate describes a leaf blade that is both oblong and lance shaped but wider near the tip or oblong and widest near the center of the blade as well as spear shaped.  The blades are moderately thick (coriaceous), measuring 33 to 56cm (13 to 22 inches) in length and 14 to 28cm (5.5 to 11 inches) wide.  The leaf is broadest just beneath the center of the blade.  The sinus, which is the space between the upper lobes, can be parabolic (bowl like) to triangular in shape and it is not uncommon for the lobes to overlap.  The upper leaf surface is semi-glossy to glossy while the underside of the blade is semi-glossy. 

When a new leaf blade forms the leaf is protected by a structure known as the cataphylls.  In the case of Anthurium longipeltatum the cataphyll is coriaceous (leathery) and measures 6.5 to 15cm (2.65 to 5.9 inches) long.  Once the leaf has fully emerged the cataphylls dry to a dark brown splitting at base.

Of major note, if you observe the underside of the leaf blade closely the species can be positively identified by conspicuous glandular punctates (see photo right).  A glandular punctate can best be described as small black dots on the underside of the leaf.  Another prominent feature can be found by observing the midrib of the leaf.  The midrib is convex (curving outward) on the upper side and significantly raised on the underside.

Another unique feature of Anthurium longipeltatum is the collective vein.  All Anthurium species possess a collective vein which often completely encircles the leaf just a centimeter or so from the edge of the leaf.  In the case of Anthurium longipeltatum the collective vein only partially encircles the blade but can still be found along the edges of the lower portion of the leaf approximately 5 to 10mm (.2 to .4 inches) from the leaf margin (edge).   See the photo left for the position.  Anthurium species are known to be highly variable and not every leaf of every specimen will always appear the same.  This link explains in greater detail the scientific principle of natural variation and morphogenesis.  Click here.

Our specimen was a gift and came without any identification.  When I set out to find the species I was confused by the fact I could not see a collective vein encircling the leaf nor a clearly defined geniculum at the top of the petioles.  As a result, I was not certain the plant was even an Anthurium.  When I posted a group of photos on Aroid l, an internet discussion group monitored by some of the world's best aroid botanists and aroid experts, Leland Miyano from Hawaii who is an expert in aroids, palms and cycads made this observation, "this is an Anthurium...I can see both a geniculum on the petiole and collective vein on the leaf blade.  The collective vein does not always go around the entire blade.  Sometimes it does not include the back or posterior lobes." 

Anthurium longipeltatum Matuda spathe and spadix, inflorescence, Photo Copyright 2009, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comAll aroids reproductive a reproductive organ known as an inflorescence.  The inflorescence of any aroid is composed primarily of a spathe and spadix with the spathe often referred to as a "flower" by collectors.  The spathe is not a flower but is simply a specially modified leaf.  An aroid, all Anthurium species reproduce via the production an inflorescence.  The stalk that supports the entire inflorescence is the peduncle. When an Anthurium is "in flower" the reference is to the tiny flowers containing both male and female sexual parts that grow on the spadix at the center of the inflorescence.  Unlike plants in the genus Philodendron which contain imperfect flowers having only a single sex Anthurium possess perfect flowers containing both sexes.  To help prevent self pollination nature has designed the female flowers to be receptive before the male portion of the flower produce their pollen so in most cases an insect must bring pollen from another plant.

At the center of the inflorescence is the spadix on which the true flowers form.  The spadix stands erect on a peduncle that is longer than the specimen's leaves and is terete (round).  The spadix begins as an  olive green turning yellow green but normally turns dark purple as it matures.  

The entire inflorescence of Anthurium longipeltatum is supported by a stalk known as the peduncle.  The peduncle of Anthurium longipeltatum normally measures 30 to 80cm (11.8 to 31.5 inches) long. 

The spathe is subcoriaceous (less than leathery) and is green in color but can also be faintly tinged with purple.  Once pollinated by an appropriate insect the infructescence hangs pendently (downward) and the spathe soon withers and falls away.  The berries produced on the spadix once pollinated are obovoid and are red/orange in color.

The largest leaf of our specimen currently measure 25.4cm (10 inches).  The specimen is grown in a very fast draining soil mix in diffused light and is kept damp at all times.

Aroid Pollination!
As it occurs in nature and by any horticulturist


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