Within our collection we have many species of Anthurium. If you are seeking other photos, click this link:
Anthurium truncicola Engler
Sometimes found as Anthurium truncicolum
Anthurium alatum Engl., Anthurium divaricatum Sodiro,
Anthurium marginatum Sodiro, Anthurium martinezii Sodiro,
Anthurium platyglossum Sodiro, Anthurium platyglossum var nanegalense Sodiro,
Anthurium platylobum Sodiro, Anthurium subdeltoideum Engl.,
Anthurium tridigitatum Engl.
Important note: Anthurium species are known to be highly variable and not every leaf of every specimen will always appear the same. This link explains in non-scientific words the facts of natural variation and morphogenesis. Understanding natural variation within a species will be important to understanding this species Please read this link once you read this page: Click here.
Plants can easily fool you! I read the disagreements of plant collector "experts" all the time who swear some plant "just isn't" what someone else thinks it to be. As a result I would strongly recommend anyone interested in variable species, a feature common within aroid species (Araceae) read this brief explanation of natural variation within species before proceeding. Click this link
In September of 2005 I received several rare Anthurium specimens from a rare plant grower in Ecuador known as Ecuagenera. I was hoping to get one particularly unusual tri-lobed Anthurium known as Anthurium Code 21 which I had never seen in any collection. The plant I wanted was "dog-eared", a larger lobe in the center with two smaller lobes hanging like dog ears on either side. I received a plant which had no leaves, (not uncommon) and no tag, which was otherwise healthy. It took months for the plant to begin to put on new foliage and when it did it was apparent, or so I thought, the plant was not the tri-lobed species I had hoped to receive. Several months passed before I began to exchange email with Dr. Ron Kaufmann in southern California. Dr. Kaufmann is not a botanist, he has a PhD in Marine Science, but is still a very qualified plant expert. He asked me to send a photo of the plant and he would attempt to help me find a scientific name for the species. With his assistance, and the input of United State's best known aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, that plant was identified as Anthurium truncicola. I would soon learn Anthurium truncicola was in fact the scientific name for the specimen sometimes known as Code 21 and in some cases as Anthurium truncicolum although the spelling is not scientifally accurate.
I asked my friend Elizabeth Campbell who lives in Ecuador to explain the meaning of the Latin words that are the roots of these scientific names. Beth wrote "Truncicola" is a plural, while the second name Truncicolum is singular. The roots from which this one is derived are Truncata, which means ''mutilated'' or ''missing'' and Colum, which means ''cultivated'' but has the secondary meaning of ''tail'' which I personally think is more likely given the shape of the juvenile leaves (ie missing their posterior lobes, or their tails."
The plant I had received did not have the shape of the Code 21 I had expected because it is a variation of Anthurium truncicola known at present as Anthurium truncicola var. bomboizanum. Dr. Croat is currently working on a similar specimen with the possible new scientific name of Anthurium bomboizense Croat or Anthurium bomboizoanum Croat. As yet, the newest name is unpublished and until further research is complete, publication is unsure. The name was derived since the variation was found near the town of Bomboiza which is in the Zamora-Chichipe portion of Ecuador. In an email received in mid January, 2008, Dr. Croat indicated, "What I call A. bomboizoanum (or A. truncicolum var. bomboizoanum) is known principally from the area around Bomboiza, and other areas in the Cordillera del Condor. It also occurs very near El Pangui. It is most likely that your plant came from near El Pangui." Ecuador has Provinces rather than states The Province of Zamora has undergone a name-change and is now the Province of Zamora-Chinchipe.
It appears that if you grow this plant you also need to possess some knowledge of botany to identify and understand all the species natural variations since Anthurium truncicola has numerous variations! There are 15 known synonyms (same plant, other name) for this species due to the varied forms, A. truncicola has been apparently fooling botanical experts for many years! All of those 15 named plants are in fact one species! They just have very varied growth forms. Think of it as people being tall, skinny, obese, short and with different skin colorations. All one species, just variations of that single species. In this case, so varied the aroids appear to be entirely different plant species! And size is of no relevance. This quote can be found within the paper quoted at the beginning of this article, "Size of any morphological structure in Anthurium is highly variable because plants often change remarkably in size over the course of their lives and also in response to the general climatic conditions where they occur, particularly in geographically widespread species. Habit, Stem, and Cataphylls"
Anthurium truncicola is a member of Anthurium section Semaeophyllium. Section Semaeophyllium contains 23 species according to Dr. Croat's and Monica Carlsen's Taxonomic Revision of the Section Semaeophyllium on Anthurium species, all within that section possessing deeply tri-lobed leaf blades. Anthurium section Semaeophyllium is now known to represent the largest group of Anthurium species with lobed leaves and is also known to contain numerous taxonomic complications which are currently being resolved. Monica Carlsen is a student PhD candidate of Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Croat is known to be the world's leading authority in aroid species, especially of the genus Anthurium, and is the personal mentor and chief consultant to this author in to present scientifically accurate facts regarding a variety of aroid species. This specific group of species has been discussed privately in his person offices on more than one occasion. Although I make no personal claim to any form of expertise in the subject, the material presented was taken directly from the journals quoted. Although Dr. Croat now states there are just less than 1000 Anthurium species, all variable, less than 9% of the entire genus contains lobed leaves.
According to the paper by Monica Dr. Croat, Anthurium truncicola is sometimes thought to be similar to A. cundinamarcense bit is not recognized as synonym of Anthurium truncicola. Instead, Dr. Croat and Monica believe that a specimen known as Lehmann 7352 is a mixed collection that includes both a specimen of Anthurium truncicola and a specimen that agrees with the original description of A. cundinamarcense. The latter species is currently accepted as a synonym of A. nigrescens and differs from A. truncicola by having cordate instead of tri-lobed leaves. Anthurium nigrescens is currently placed in section Cardiolonchium.
Anthurium truncicola may be confused with Anthurium grex-avium as well as Anthurium platyglossum, since all are climbing species with similar characteristics. However, careful examination of features such as the internodes as wel as the lateral lobes reveal distinct differences.
When grown my new plant with its thick coriaceous (leathery) leaves will develop the three lobes I expected but in a totally different shape. Now, December, 2006, the largest leaf measures 40cm (16 inches) by 16cm (6 1/2 inches) wide. When fully grown var. bomboizana will be shaped more like a very fat letter "T" with the lower lobe quite wide while the upper lobes are growing straight out to the left and right at the top yet smaller in size. Dr. Kaufmann has provided a dramatic photo showing the species' variation bomboizanum I received which is included above. Variation bomboizanum shows only a single blade in its present juvenile form with over one year of growth. The specimen can become even more spectacular, especially in size, than the specimen I had originally hoped to acquire with leaves well over 60cm (2 feet) wide.
Anthurium differ from Philodendron species since all Anthurium produce perfect flowers containing both male and female organs while Philodendron produce imperfect flowers containing only a single sex. At sexual anthesis all Anthurium produce an inflorescence which contains both a spathe and a spadix. The spadix is only a modified leaf and not a flower which surrounds the fleshy spike known as the spadix. 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. 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.
In January, 2008 the var. Bombiozanum produced a spathe and spadix. The spathe measured 16cm (16.5") when fully unfurled while the spadix measured 14cm (5.5 inches). As you can see in the photo (left) the spathe was curled like a "pig-tail". According to aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat, this type of curled spathe is known as linear-lanceolate, reflexed-spreading and longitudinally coiled to one side.
With Dr. Kaufmann's assistance I have also managed to locate a specimen of the plant I had originally hoped to find (see inset left above as well as on this page). That one is still small with leaf blades approximately 15cm (6 inches). The smaller specimen has yet to fully develop the dog-eared form but is just now beginning to develop that characteristic.
Found in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, Anthurium truncicola grows in the Pichincha region rainforests of Nanegal and Mindo. Dr. Kaufmann's photo was taken in the state of Zamora, Ecuador. The species enjoys high humidity, medium light and well draining soil. Anthurium truncicola is a climber, and is also a prize in any collection!
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