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 New: Understanding, pronouncing and using Botanical terminology, a Glossary

Anthurium faustomirandae Pérez-Farrera & Croat

Anthurium faustomirandae, Photo Copyright Steve Lucas,                  

Anthurium faustomirandae Pérez-Farrera & Croat

Often incorrectly spelled
Anthurium faustinomiranda, Anthurium faustino-miranda
Anthurium faustino-mirandae, Anthurium faustinamarino
and sometimes Anthurium faustmirandae on numerous websites

Dr. Croat once proposed but did not publish the name "Anthurium whitelockii" for the plant published to science as Anthurium faustomirandae Pérez-Farrarra & Croat

Faustino's Giant Anthurium

I've had a long fascination with large leaf Anthurium sp.  Anthurium regale has been a favorite but Anthurium faustomirandae may now be a close second. 
The two species are dramatically different but you can actually find a photo of Anthurium faustomirandae posted on an internet garden website and noted as Anthurium regale.  Almost any serious collector will quickly know the post is incorrect.  The two are similar in shape, but there are major differences.  Anthurium species are known to be highly variable and not every leaf of every specimen will always appear the same. 
Anthurium faustomirandae has been listed as being a member of Anthurium section Calomystium by Dr. Croat and is endemic (exclusively found in) Mexico while Anthurium regale is endemic to Peru.  The interesting leaves of A. faustomirandae grow on long petioles but do not have the "velvet to the touch" leaves common to A. regale.  The shape of the cordate (heart shaped) leaf is at least somewhat similar.  Anthurium faustomirandae is often sold as the "world's largest" Anthurium and several internet sources state A. faustomirandae has the largest cordate leaves of any Anthurium.  That information is not entirely correct since the average leaf size of A. faustomirandae reported in scientific journals is 60cm, or two feet, substantially smaller than a fully adult A. regale.   Anthurium regale can grow blades close to 1.8 meters (six feet).   Under good conditions Anthurium faustomirandae may be able to grow blades very close to that size!  In a recent discussion on the aroid forum Aroid l a question arose about a plant one grower knew as "Anthurium whitelockii".  Aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat responded, "What I once called Anthurium whitelockii turned out to be another new species which is now published, namely A. faustomirandae M. Perez Farrara & Croat  Thus A. whitelockii is no more, just what we call an herbarium name."
Known to collectors as a relatively easy to grow Anthurium species, the leaf blades of A. faustomirandae are heavily Anthurium faustomirandae, specimen is the property of Buddy Poulsencoriaceous (leathery) and quite stiff.  According to aroid expert Julius Boos, "the leaves feel like hard, dry cardboard."  New leaf growth emerges with a red coloration bing on gold and the new leaves are glossy.  However, as the blade matures and hardens, the gloss is lost and the blade surface becomes matte.
North American growers have reported blades on Anthurium faustomirandae 1.2 meters (4 feet) in length but these appear to be somewhat larger than the norm reported in scientific literature.   However, larger growth is certainly possible.  Expert Miami grower Ron Weeks noted, "My old plants are in very bright light and not well fed but have leaf blades 42" in length. Larger leaves are common in better conditions."  And southwest Florida grower Joe Wright reported a leaf size of 53" by 34" with each successive leaf being larger.   So the Anthurium is certainly capable of growing very large leaf blades.  Anthurium faustomirandae is without question the largest cordate leaf Anthurium species in Mexico or Central America, but perhaps not the largest in the world.  As compared to A. regale, the more newly discovered A. faustomirandae is likely also faster growing and easier to maintain in a collection. 

There appears to be some dissention among growers regarding the sinus (opening between the lobes near the top) of the specimen.  Many plants have an open sinus but plants may also have lobes that overlap as in LariAnn's photo (left) and Windy Aubrey's photo of a fully adult hybrid specimen at Silver Krome Gardens in Miami, FL (lower right).  Aroid expert Julius Boos provided this explanation regarding both the sinus and the size of the species, "Ron Weeks and I had a conversation earlier today, and I asked about the variation, the more open and the more closed sinus on this species.  Ron pointed out that Denis Rotolante has huge plants of this species and grows many from the large seeds.  There is specific (normal) variation amongst the seedlings.  Some sinus develop to be more 'open' than others!  Look at the plant with Sam in the picture on Enid`s plant site.
  Our Mexican friend Alfonso de la Parra brought this photo to my attention.    I also Anthurium faustomirandae, Photo Copyright 2008, Alfonso del la Parracontacted an experienced friend and he says my memory of Dr. Monroe Birdsey`s huge plant is correct.  It was planted in the ground, and was larger than the potted ones we are now seeing and had leaves approaching five feet!"   As you will read later, hybrids can be difficult to detect, even by experts. 
There is however some difference of professional opinion regarding the species' maximum blade size.  Expert grower Jay Vaninni from Guatemala City, Guatemala grows many unusual and exotic Anthurium species.  In an email received in September, 2007 Jay stated, "I know that everyone says that blades on this species reach 5', and they well may.  But I'd like to see a tape measure beside one.  I have personally measured wild A. titanium near type locality on Tajamulco with blades that were slightly over 4' long.  I am quite sure that under soft cultivated conditions in a glasshouse this species can easily exceed this length.  So I'm not certain which of the two would actually be the largest Mexican cordate-leaf Anthurium." 
Since its discovery, it has been observed A. faustomirandae is found only in the Mexican state of Chiapas and can be found at elevations ranging from 850 to 1,000 meters (2,100 to 3,200 feet). The only area of northeastern Chiapas where the species can be found for certain is the area of Bosque Tropical Perennifolio in the mountain region between Yajalon and Tila.  In that area the species is known to grow primarily on karst (limestone) rocks.   The plant to the right is a juvenile with leaves approximately 33cm (13 inches) in length.  The plant is in the personal collection of aroid grower Alfonso de la Parra.
The species was originally collected in 1952 by Spanish botanist Faustino Miranda at San Fernando, Mexico but went unnamed.  Miranda considered the species to be Anthurium xanthosomifolium Matuda as a result of the species' large leaves.  Anthurium xanthosomifolium is now considered a synonym of Anthurium titanium.  In the early1990's, the species was named in honor of Miranda and is commonly known as Faustino's Giant Anthurium.  Miranda's original collected specimen is still in cultivation in the Jardin Botanico "Faustino Miranda" at the Instituto de Historia Natural in Chiapas, Mexico. 

The type specimen of Anthurium faustomirandae was collected in the Montañas del Norte region of Mexico near Chiapas on April 16, 1995 at an elevation of 850 meters (2100 feet).  Miguel Farrera, who is associated with the Universidad de
Ciencias y Artes del Estado de Chiapas, is one of the botanical authors.  His co-author on the species is our friend Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden, in St. Louis.  In addition to some limited similarity to Anthurium regale, Anthurium faustomirandae bears a resemblance to Anthurium titanium from Guatemala, thus the original confusion with Anthurium xanthosomifolium.  One major difference in the species is Anthurium faustomirandae has a persistent intact cataphyll and much thicker leaf blades and a shorter inflorescence with a wider spathe.  The spathe on a short peduncle is unique since it lies almost horizontal and as such forms a near perfect 'hood' over the spadix.  The cataphyll is a modified leaf that surrounds a new leaf blade about to emerge.  In some species the cataphylls soon vanish after the leaf emerges, but in the case of this species it remains. 
The species name is often misspelled on the internet and that is likely due to the similarity of Miranda's given name, Faustino to Fausto.  Dr. Croat himself shortened the name from Faustino to Fausto. The correct spelling, Anthurium faustomirandae, can be verified via TROPICOS (Missouri Botanical Garden) or the International Plant Names Index (IPNI).  Dr. Croat responded to a question in this regard on the internet discussion group Aroid l with this comment to Derek Birch, editor of Aroideana, when Derek corrected the spelling of the name, "You are correct.  I deliberately shorted the name to faustomirandae because Fausto is a shortened version of Faustino."

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.

At the present time, Anthurium faustomirandae has been placed in Anthurium section Calomystium as a result of its persistent intact cataphylls and subterete (less than cylindrical) petioles along with a thick spathe and spadix (for those unfamiliar with aroid species, the spathe and spadix are the inflorescence produced by the plant often referred to as a "flower" (see photo right, below).  Rather than a "flower", the spathe is simply a modified leaf.  However, at this time, the placement in section Calomystrium is tentative.  The species is thought to be unique and is isolated from other distinct Anthurium faustomirandae spathe and spadix, Photo Copyright 2008, Buddy Poulsenspecies in the same section including plants from further south in Central America.  This is important to the preservation of the species since similar Anthurium species often interbreed and create natural hybrids in their native regions.  Denis Rotolante explained in a recent email the photo by Windy Aubrey (right) was taken at Silver Krome Gardens in Miami, FL and is actually a hybrid variation.  Bill
Rotolante hybridized the specimen by crossing Anthurium faustormirandae with Anthurium clarinervium.  Denis further explained,
"it has also been successfully hybridized with Anthurium podophyllum.  Dr. Croat says Central American Anthurium will often hybridize with other Central American species which are not in their group."

Our specimen (photo at top of the page) is still a juvenile and was a gift from our friend and Mexican grower Alfonso de la Parra.  Alfonso has his home in an incredible garden approximately one hour west of Mexico City complete with over 30 exotic macaws and other tropical birds.  Alfonso arranged for us to receive the specimen at the 2007 International Aroid Show in Miami.  Growers claim the species prefers a very wet cycle followed by a slightly drier period followed again by another extremely wet period.  We grow our specimen in a mixture of moisture control potting soil, peat, Perlite™, and orchid potting media that contains both bark, charcoal, and gravel.  The mixture is kept moderately moist most of the time.  The species appears to grow well in either bright or moderate light.

This link explains in greater detail the science of natural variation in Anthurium and other species.  You may be surprised to learn that not every leaf of every plant will always look exactly the same.   Click here.


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