Within our collection we have many species of Anthurium. If you are seeking other photos, click this link:
Anthurium balaoanum Engl.
Often sold as Anthurium guildingii
Sometimes confused with Anthurium dolichostachyum
Synonym Anthurium latifolium
A beautifully large Anthurium from Ecuador, many photos on the internet supposedly of Anthurium guildingii are truly Anthurium balaoanum
according to information from aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Croat is the top expert in Araceae (aroids) in North America. In regard to the real Anthurium guildingii Dr. Croat states that species "has narrowly cordate blades which are moderately coriaceous and have the collective veins arising from the first basal veins and rather remote from the margins." The technical definition of "cordate" is "the leaf is rather wide and heart-shaped." Coriaceous indicates the leaf has the feel of leather.
I often learn from Dr. Croat that plants are not what I believe, or other collectors indicate what they may be! Until Dr. Croat made the information available I believed our specimen matched the general description of Anthurium guildingii until I looked up the description of several important features. This specimen does have moderately coriaceous leaf blades that are "cordate", but if you dig deeper it does not match the scientific description of A. guildingii even though several tropical plant growers sell specimens using that name. Our plant (the photo of which as well as a plant sample has been seen by Dr. Croat) is Anthurium balaoanum and even though it does have moderately leathery leaves, much of the leaf structure is wrong. (i.e. collective veins arising from the first basal veins). The collective vein can be seen in the photo (left, below) as a thin line running around the leaf blade near the edge of the leaf. As a result, our specimen cannot be A. guildingii.
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.
The spadix at its center vaguely resembles an elongated pine cone and is a spike on a thickened fleshy axis which can produce tiny flowers. Once the female portion of the flowers on the spadix are ready to reproduce during anthesis (sexual reproduction) they must be pollinated by an insect, normally a beetle. If pollinated they will produce berries with each berry containing one to two seeds. The colorful berries are then eaten by birds and other rain forest animal species that spread them among the forest in their droppings. The spathe of Anthurium balaoanum is green to yellow/green turning brown and is reflexed (turning backwards). The spadix is maroon turning brown.
Anthurium balaoanum has been in the Exotic Rainforest atrium since 2003 and has yet to produce an inflorescence. To date we have propagated 4 new specimens from cuttings of the original and given away many cuttings.
Anthurium species are known to be highly variable and not every leaf of every specimen will always appear the same. Anthurium specimens often morph as they grow so they do not always produce leaves that are identical. This link explains in non-scientific language the science of natural variation and morphogenesis.
Anthurium balaoanum is often confused with another Anthurium from Ecuador, Anthurium dolichostachyum. Dr. Croat notes that A. dolichostachyum occurs in wetter habitats.
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If you are seeking information on other rare species, click on "Aroids and other genera in the Collection" at the top and look for the