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Aroids and other genera in the Collection      Take the Tour Now?     Orchids

The Exotic Rainforest
Plants in the Exotic Rainforest Collection
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Within our collection we have many species of Philodendron
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Philodendron heterocraspedum Croat & Bay
Philodendron heterocraspedum Croat & Bay, Photo Copyrigth 2008, Steve Lucas,
Philodendron heterocraspedum Croat & Bay


All the photos on this page of Philodendron heterocraspedum  are of a sub-adult specimen which has yet to produce an inflorescence.  The inflorescence of Philodendron heterocraspedum is described in this article.

Dr. Thomas B. Croat, Missouri Botanical garden research greenhouse, Photo Copyright Janice Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comBased on the field notes published on TROPICOS (a service of the Missouri Botanical Garden) of aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis (photo right), Philodendron heterocraspedum grows as both an appressed epiphyte (ep-a-FIT) growing close to the host and a terrestrial species.   Philodendron heterocraspedum was discovered in Colombia in the  Valle del Cauca Vicinity Bajo Calima.   An epiphytic species is one that grows attached to another plant, normally a tree.  Philodendron heterocraspedum has also been observed growing on steep banks and as a hemiepiphytic vine.  A hemiepiphyte (hem-a-EPA-fit) is a plant that often begins life as a seed that has fallen to the ground and finds a host tree to climb while an epiphyte begins life as a seed placed on the tree in the droppings of a rain forest bird or animal that has eaten the fruit of the inflorescence.   The original accession number (collection number assigned for research purposes) for Philodendron heterocraspedum is 74-579. 

The leaf blades of  Philodendron heterocraspedum are sub-coriaceous (less than leathery to the touch) and either semi-Philodendron heterocraspedum, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comglossy or slightly matte on the adaxial (upper) leaf surface but substantially paler and semi-glossy abaxially (beneath)(see photo at the bottom of this article).  The primary lateral veins are slightly sunken on the upper leaf surface and raised beneath.  The blades are semi-glossy but may also be bi-colorous and often possess a white ridge. 

Philodendron heterocraspedum petiole, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comThe petioles which support each leaf blade of Philodendron heterocraspedum are sharply C-shaped (sometimes almost D shaped) when seen cut as a cross section.  The C indention in the petiole can be seen in the photo (right).  The petiole is also sulcate.  Sulcate indicates either a canal known as a sulcus or having numerous fine parallel grooves. The petiole is also striated (see photo, below left).  

The cataphylls, which are a bract-like modified leaf that surrounds every newly emerging leaf blade, are medium green tinged slightly red and persist intact (but may also be deciduous) once the new leaf emerges.  Deciduous means the cataphyll falls from the plant.  The cataphyll of Philodendron heterocraspedum is sharply single edged and may have a second ridge near the apex (top) causing it to be D-shaped.

Philodendron species are aroids, a plant that reproduces via an inflorescence known to science as a spathe and spadix. Although most believe the spathe is a "flower", it is not. The spathe is another modified leaf appearing to be a hood whose purpose is to protect the spadix.   The spadix is a spike on a thickened fleshy axis which can produce tiny flowers.  Once ready to be pollinated (anthesis) tiny flowers can be found along the spadix.  Those flowers on the Philodendron heterocraspedum, striations on petiole, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comspadix are male, female and sterile which if pollinated by an appropriate insect, normally a beetle, will produce berries containing seeds 

The inflorescences of Philodendron heterocraspedum are at least paired but there may be as many as 5 inflorescences per axil.  The spathe is a greenish white on the outside and is  pale green on the inside with the exception of the red/violet (magenta) at the base of the spathe tube.  During female anthesis the spathe tube may be a pale green.  The spadix is white and is tapered to narrowly pointed.  The peduncle which supports each inflorescence is short (less than 5cm) and medium green.   To date, we have not observed an inflorescence on this species.

Aroids are known to produce variable leaf blades as a result of ontogeny. commonly known as morphogenesis.  Variation within species does not always require the plant to present the same leaf shape.  The following link explains in non-technical language natural variation and morphogenesis within both aroids and other plant species.  Click here.

Philodendron heterocraspedum blade underside, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas,


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