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Caladium bicolor (Aiton) Vent.
One of the most variable of all aroid species!
 Caladium bicolor variation, Caladium "Pigeon's Blood", collected in Trinidad by Julius Boos, Photo Copyright 2007, Steve Lucas,
 Caladium bicolor (Aiton) Vent.
Synonyms: Arum vermitoxicum, Caladium adamantinum, Caladium argyrospilum,
Caladium barraquinii, Caladium belleyenei, Caladium brongniartii, Caladium chantinii,
Caladium concolor, Caladium devosianum, Caladium enkeanum, Caladium fermulum,
Caladium haematostigma, Caladium hastatum, Caladium hortulanum, Caladium houlletii,
Caladium laucheanum, Caladium lemaireanum, Caladium macrophyllum, Caladium marginatum,
Caladium marmoratum, Caladium medio-radiatum, Caladium mirabile, Caladium neumanni,
Caladium pallidum, Caladium perrieri, Caladium picturatum, Caladium poecile, Caladium porphyroneuron,
Caladium purdieanum, Caladium regale, Caladium sagittatum, Caladium smaragdinum, Caladium sororium,
Caladium spruceanum, Caladium stangeanum, Caladium steudneriaefolium, Caladium surinamense,
Caladium troubetzkoyi, Caladium vellozianum, Caladium verschaffeltii, Caladium x hortulanum

Caladium bicolor var. albomaculatum, Caladium bicolor var. argyrospilum,
Caladium bicolor var. barraquinii, Caladium bicolor var. bohemicum, Caladium bicolor var. brongniartii,
Caladium bicolor var. chantinii, Caladium bicolor var. curwadlii, Caladium bicolor var. devosianum,
Caladium bicolor subvar. donizettii, Caladium bicolor var. duchartrei, Caladium bicolor var. enkeanum, 
Caladium bicolor var. hendersonii, Caladium bicolor var. houbyanym, Caladium bicolor var. houlletii,
Caladium bicolor var. ketteleri, Caladium bicolor var. kochii, Caladium bicolor var. kramerianum,
Caladium bicolor var. laucheanum, Caladium bicolor var. leopoldii, Caladium bicolor var. lindenii,
Caladium bicolor var. macrophyllum, Caladium bicolor var. marginatum, Caladium bicolor var. mirabile,
Caladium bicolor var. neumannii, Caladium bicolor var. pellucidum, Caladium bicolor var. perrieri,
Caladium bicolor var. pictum, Caladium bicolor var. regale, Caladium bicolor subvar. rosaceum,
Caladium bicolor var. roseo-maculatum, Caladium bicolor var. rubellum, Caladium bicolor var. rubicundum,
Caladium bicolor var. rubrivenium, Caladium bicolor var. sieboldii, Caladium bicolor var. splendens,
Caladium bicolor var. stangeanum, Caladium bicolor var. surinamense, Caladium bicolor var. transparens,
Caladium bicolor var. vermitoxicum, Caladium bicolor var. verschaffeltii, Caladium bicolor var. wightii

Both specimens shown were collected in Trinidad and are natural variations of Caladium bicolor.  The first is known as "Pigeon's Blood".  Caladium bicolor is an aroid that grow from a tuber often incorrectly called a "bulb".  A tropical perennial, Caladium sp. have no stems but rather grow their showy matte leaf blades on long petioles that rise directly from the tuber.  The tuber is a subterranean round to elongated fleshy rhizome which serves as a storage organ.  The petioles typically measure 15 to 30cm (6 to 12 inches).  The leaf veins are distinctly seen beneath the leaf blade. 
The petioles are terete (round) and are attached to the leaves at or near the center of the blade rather than at the end. The majority of hybridized Caladium plants bought at nurseries are hybrid forms of Caladium bicolor and not true species.  The leaves of Caladium bicolor have a large variety of shapes, sizes,  and color variations.   At least one thousand named Caladium cultivars exist, mostly with lance or heart shaped leaves.  Only two natural variations are Caladium bicolor variation collected in Trinidad by Julius Boos, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comshown on this page, both were wild collected on the island of Trinidad and are not necessarily typical of all forms of Caladium bicolor.
An old world species, Caladium bicolor  has been collected in Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Puerto Rico, Tobago, Trinidad, the Windward Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Gabon, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Sierra Leon, Suriname, Venezuela and other locations.  As is obvious from the large number of synonym names (same species, other scientific name) seen at the top of this page, Caladium bicolor is a highly variable aroid species.  It is quite common to find natural specimens that vary greatly in blade shape, pattern and color.
The specimen shown at the top of the page is being called "Pigeon's Blood".   Aroid expert and collector Julius Boos explains,  "The "Pigeon`s blood", is is a variety of Caladium bicolor.   I gave it that name (which is NOT a registered cultivar name, so I guess it could be considered just a name I gave it to distinguish it from all the other color forms/vars. of C. bicolor which you can find on that same road in the Northern Range of Trinidad, W.I.).  I collected it growing on the side of a wet road-side drain along Blanchisseuse Road which runs north out of the town of Arima, and winds and curves over the Northern Range of hills then down to the North Coast.   I would guess the elevation was about 1,800 ft..  When I saw it growing, the red spots struck me as being very attractive.  In the gloom of the day they looked like spots of pigeon`s bloom that might have dripped on to the dark green leaf blade from a shot bird."

The photo to the left (below) is a hybrid Caladium variation commonly sold as a landscape plant but originated with Caladium bicolor
Caladium hybrids created from Caladium bicolor, Photo Copyright 2005, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comThe second specimen above was also collected by Julius, "this is just another of the many color variations of Caladium bicolor found in abundance in certain areas throughout Trinidad.   There are also many more plants of this species with all-green leaf blades, some with just a red-brown spot in the center of the leaf blade.   All are wonderful plants, and give any naturalist or aroid collector reason to pause and just wonder at one of the many natural marvels one can encounter on a walk along most roads or trails in the wooded areas of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies."

All Caladium species are aroids. An aroid is a plant that reproduces by producing an inflorescence known as a spathe and spadix. Most people believe the spathe is a "flower", it is not. The spathe is simply a specially modified leaf with a spadix growing at its center.  The spathe is normally close to 23cm (9 inches) long with a greenish white spadix and spathe and is somewhat similar to the spathe of a Jack-in-the-Pulpit. On the spadix there can be found very tiny flowers when the plant is at anthesis and prepared to be pollinated. When ready, the spadix produces both male, female and sterile flowers which if pollinated will produce berries containing seeds.    Small white berries eventually develop on the spadix

Caladium species and hybrids prefer damp shaded conditions and few if any will tolerate direct sunlight.   

Natural variation within aroid species is common.  Not every leaf of every specimen will always appear the same.  This link explains in non-technical language natural variation and morphogenesis within aroid and other plant species:
 Click here.





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