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In depth information on how to grow Philodendron species, Click this Link

Within our collection we have many species of Philodendron.  If you are seeking other photos, click this link

Philodendron mamei André

Phiodendron mamei adult leaf blades, Photo Copyright 2009, Steve Lucas,

Philodendron mamei, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas,

Philodendron mamei André
A Creeping Aroid

Although scientific terminology can be found in this text, an effort is made to explain those terms in a way any
plant collector can use the information to positively identify and better understand a specimen.

Identified to science in 1883,  According to the published field notes of aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis Philodendron mamei is a creeping species Philodendron mamei, Photo Copyright 2006, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comthat grows over the ground.  To a botanist, such a creeping plant species is known as being "repent", however, Philodendron mamei has been infrequently observed by field botanists growing as an epiphyte (ep-a-FIT).  And epiphytic species is one that grows upon another plant, normally a tree. 

Since Philodendron mamei is a terrestrial species it is commonly found on steep banks with its caudex found creeping across the surface.  The caudex is the main stem which may be woody and thickened in mature specimens.  In botany the stem is not the support for any single leaf as is often thought by collector/growers, but instead is the stem  which is the base of the plant.  The petioles which support the leaves grow from nodes along the stem's length.   The internodes, which are the stem segments between two nodes, are short.  On a fully mature specimen the stems can measure approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in length. 

Philodendron mamei stem, petiole and nodes, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comNear the top of the petioles of Philodendron mamei (which are the supports for each individual leaf, see illustration, right, for an explanation of the location of the stem, petioles and nodes) are sub-terete which means less than round and slightly flattened on the underside.  The underside of any plant surface is known as the abaxial surface while the upper surface is known as the adaxial surface.  The edges of the petioles have an acute marginal rib.  Anything in botany described as "acute" simply means that part gradually tapers to a point.  The petioles of Philodendron mamei are medium to olive green in color with pale lines and are broadly convex on the upper and lower surface.  The petioles are striated which means they have grooves which run closely together along the petiole's surface.  The petioles may also be reddish near the base,  Juvenile specimens of Philodendron mamei may be undulated (wavy) as well as possess a somewhat "D" shaped petiole.  The "D" shape can be observed if the petiole is cut in half and viewed as a cross section.

Philodendron mamei has been stated in some internet material to grow leaf blades up to 1 meter (3 feet) in width, however the average specimen will possess leaves of approximately 25 to 45cm (10 to 18 inches) in size depending on the care given to the specimen.   The leaves of Philodendron mamei are thin and are scientifically considered to be sub-coriaceous which means less than leathery to the touch.  The leaf blades are semi-glossy on the upper (adaxial) leaf surface. 

If the underside of a leaf blade is examined the lower surface (abaxial) will be seen to be much paler in color and only slightly glossy.  The mid-rib at the blade's center is flat on the upper surface but is convex on the underside.  The primary lateral leaf veins of Philodendron mamei cataphyll, Photo Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comPhilodendron mamei are sunken on the adaxial (upper) surface but are convex on the underside while the minor veins are only moderately visible  on the underside.  

Once any new leaf is produced it is surrounded by a sheath-like structure known in botany as a cataphyll which in Philodendron mamei are reddish/brown in color.
  The cataphylls are bract like modified leaves that surround any new leaf and whose purpose is to protect those emerging leaves as they develop.   The cataphylls of Philodendron mamei are 2 ribbed and remain somewhat intact once the new leaf is fully developed.  The cataphylls of P. mamei are flattened as well as winged on the edges.  

All Philodendron species are aroids.  An aroid is a plant that reproduces through the production of an inflorescence and  the major parts of that inflorescence are known as a spathe and spadix.  Many growers believe the spathe is a "flower" but that is inaccurate since the spathe is nothing more than a modified leaf appearing to be a hood whose purpose is to protect the spadix at its center.  If you explore the inflorescence with a strong magnifying glass when it first reaches female anthesis (sexual reproduction) and is beginning to open you can find very tiny flowers (both male, sterile male, and female) found on the spadix.   The female flowers are securely hidden inside the floral chamber at the lower extreme of the spadix and are the first to open.  If the female flowers are pollinated with the pollen brought by an appropriate insect from another specimen of Philodendron mamei that currently has the male flowers at male anthesis and producing pollen the spadix will produce seeds.  In Philodendron species pollination is almost always done by a Cyclocephala beetle species of which there are approximately 900 species (approximately one half are identified to science),  The illustration to the right is not the inflorescence of Philodendron mamei and is used only to illustrate the parts of a Philodendron inflorescence.

In Philodendron mamei there are one to two inflorescences per axil on a specimen.  The spathe is supported by a stalk known as a peduncle which is normally dark purple.  The spathe is a medium olive green and is only slightly glossy but is tinged with purple/violet on the open side of spathe tube but may also be a dark violet purple while the inside of the spathe tube is a cream white. The spathe is striated (grooved) near the base.  Once the spathe is past sexual anthesis the spathe may become a dark violet purple on the tube.

For a more complete explanation of pollination in aroid species, please read this link: Aroid pollination

At one time Philodendron mamei was both rare and expensive but due to the use of "tissue culture" in plant propagation Philodendron mamei has become  common.  Tissue cultured plants do not necessarily achieve the size nor beauty of a wild collected specimen due to the chemical processes used in their cloning.   Tissue culture is simply the cloning of another plant but the chemicals used are known to cause changes in the appearance, growth rate, and size of a specimen.  Websites that claim to sell a "super sized" variation of this species are selling only a normal specimen (almost always cloned) of Philodendron mamei since the size of a specimen has nothing to do with a species' variation. 

Philodendron mamei double edged petiole, Photo Copyright 2009, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforest.comPhilodendron species are known to be highly variable and not every leaf of every specimen will always appear the same.  This link explains in non-technical language natural variation and morphogenesis within aroids and other species.  Click here. 

Philodendron mamei prefers bright but indirect sunlight and does not do well in temperatures much below 12.75 C (55 degrees F).  If exposed to colder temperatures Philodendron mamei may simply stop growing, reduce in size or just vanish.  A specimen should be planted in very fast draining soil that is kept evenly damp but never soggy. 

The base information found in this article was taken from the published field notes of aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO, as well as from TROPICOS, an on-line service of the Missouri Botanical Garden.  All photographs (unless otherwise noted) are the copyrighted property of Steve Lucas,   Photography Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas.



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


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