Within our collection we have many species of Philodendron. If you are seeking other photos, click this link
Schott ex Endl
Philodendron bipennifolium Schott ex Endl.
Synonym: Philodendron wayombense
incorrectly sold as Philodendron panduriforme
Horse Head Philodendron, Fiddle Leaf Philodendron, Panda Plant, Splash Gordon Plant
Seeking information on Philodendron panduriforme?
Sometimes confusing, Philodendron bipennifolium is an aroid commonly known only by the shape of the juvenile leaves shown in the inset photo to the right. Once it begins to mature, many would never recognize the species as the same plant as the adult! These changes in leaf shape on a single plant are known as to be heterophyllus.
One bit of confusion that makes the species misunderstood is specimens are often known and sold using the wrong name! Philodendron bipennifolium is commonly sold on the internet as Philodendron panduriforme. The error appears to be a result of statements found in more than one book. According to one of the world's leading aroid botanists, Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO, Philodendron bipennifolium is not the same species. Philodendron panduriforme is a completely different plant.
Sellers on sites such as eBay commonly use the wrong name for this species almost always calling in Philodendron panduriforme. The photo to the right on this page was taken by Dr. Croat and is used courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Many assume Philodendron panduriforme is synonym for Philodendron bipennifolium. Where that information originated cannot be verified, but the two species are not synonymous and that belief is not supported by any botanical database. Others believe Philodendron panduriforme looks just like Philodendron bipennifolium. They do not. One very good noted book by author Deni Bown indicates the two species are one and the same, however, according to Dr. Croat and other aroid experts they are very different and have no relationship other than they are both Philodendron species.
Philodendron bipennifolium is known to produce variable leaf blades as a result of ontogeny, more commonly known as morphogenesis. Variation within Philodendron species does not require the plant to always present the same leaf shape. As species grows, the leaf blades change, often dramatically. You can observe morphogenesis with a variety of leaf shapes on a single juvenile plant (photo left). Every leaf shape is growing up the same piece of cork! If allowed to climb a tree, the leaves will continue to morph. A photo of an adult blade can be seen later in this text.
In an exchange of email with Dr. Croat , he wrote, "Philodendron panduriforme is a distinct species which is merely 3-lobed. See Aroideana volume 9, I believe where I published the Araceae of Venezuela. Philodendron bipennifolium does not resemble P. panduriforme at all and is surely unrelated. The photo you attached is P. bipennifolium."
The photo on the right of an adult specimen of Philodendron panduriforme is from volume 9 of Aroideana (published by the International Aroid Society). It was scanned and used with Croat's permission. The photo on the left is a young specimen of P. panduriforme from our own collection. As is obvious, the two photos bear bear little resemblance to the photos of Philodendron bipennifolium shown above. As you can see, Philodendron panduriforme also morphs as it grows. However, in the juvenile state, Philodendron panduriforme does very slightly resemble Philodendron bipennifolium. After reviewing a photo of a juvenile P. panduriforme, Dr. Croat responded, "I can see why Deni Bown thought this is the same as P. bipennifolium. The problem is this species (P. panduriforme) is usually more deeply 3-lobed."
To find the basis for this incorrect assumption I contacted several additional experts including Joep Moonen (pronounced yupe or jupe) in French Guiana. Joep is a well known Dutch naturalist and Dr. Croat refers to him as his "eyes and ears" in the rain forest. No one knew why collectors think the two species are the same with the exception of notes found in some texts. Joep provided the photo (left) of an adult specimen growing in the forest of French Guiana. As you can see, there is a resemblance to the juvenile plants nearing adulthood, but it is still very different from a young juvenile. Aroid expert Julius Boos in West Palm Beach, FL sent a description of Philodendron panduriforme which matches Dr. Croat's photo and the photo of my juvenile specimen: "They (P. bipennifolium and P. panduriforme) look nothing alike, and could never be confused as the same species. Philodendron panduriforme has a shallow lobed blade with three shallow lobes, rounded tips to the lobes, and no more then scallops that do not go deep or anywhere near the main veins. In the photo of P. bipennifolium, the divisions in the blade seem deeply cut with pointed sections which 'cut' near or to the main veins."
Also confusing to plant collectors, morphogenesis and natural variation are common within aroid species. The following link uses photos to explain in non-technical language natural variation and morphogenesis. Click here.
Philodendron bipennifolium is found in Brazil, French Guiana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. A hemiepiphyte (hem-a-EPA-fit), birds often eat the plant's berry fruits which contain seeds. As a result, the species may grow from a seed dropped on the soil, then climb a nearby tree, or become established as an epiphyte (ep-a-FIT) (a plant that grows on another plant) on a tree branch. Aroids are commonly found in the rain forest canopy are placed there as a seed within a bird's droppings. It is not uncommon for epiphytic species to eventually send their roots down to the soil.
If you believe you are growing Philodendron panduriforme, and it looks like any of the photos of Philodendron bipennifolium on this page, it would strongly appear you have the wrong tag on your plant! If you compare the juvenile leaves on this page, all of which are growing on a single vine in our collection, you can see Philodendron bipennifolium goes through the juvenile stages of morphogenesis It changes as ot grows and the rounded upper lobes become pointed. The adult form of Philodendron bipennifolium normally has two upwardly pointing lobes which narrow sharply. Then the blade again widens to form a leaf that appears to have a "fat" mid-section with a pointed lower blade.
The adult leaf blades of this species are sharply different from the juvenile forms collectors grow. The photo to the right above by Michael Mattlage shows a specimen that has begun to morph into a young adult. Some of our photos show juvenile specimen. Once the plant matures and completes its morphogenesis, the edges become somewhat ragged and the upper lobes are even more sharply pointed.
A photo of Philodendron bipennifolium found in a book by Harry Lorenzi on the plants of master plant collector Roberto Burle Marx from Brazil shows the species in the full adult form with the "ears" on the lobes having scalloped edges. That adult specimen looks suspiciously like a plant sold in the United States as Philodendron Ecuador. It has been suggested by some collectors Philodendron Ecuador is a natural hybrid of Philodendron bipennifolium found in the rain forests of Brazil. The photo to the right is of our Philodendron Ecuador.
The adult form of P. bipennifolium is rarely seen in a collection but is common in the rain forest. Philodendron bipennifolium is suspected of being one of the parents of several exotic natural hybrids that circulate among aroid collectors. Apparently, the species hybridizes in nature more readily than some Philodendron species.
Joep Moonen believes Philodendron bipennifolium is one of the parents of a very odd natural hybrid he has found at only two places in French Guiana. That rare specimen is now known to collectors as Philodendron 'joepii' and has not been scientifically named or described. You can read more about Philodendron 'joepii' by clicking this link.
Philodendron bipennifolium is a climber and if given a totem or is planted next to a tree in a tropical environment, it loves to climb. The leaf blades are semi-glossy and the spathe tube is green. P. bipennifolium prefers high humidity and grows very well in the climate of our tropical atrium in well draining soil.
The leaves of our immature specimens tend to be approximately 25cm (10 inches) in length but grow much larger once they mature.
Incorrect information found on the internet suggests Philodendron bipennifolium is a hybrid, but since the species was described to science in1855 that is nothing more than an internet plant myth!
Read the description of Philodendron panduriforme here:
Want to learn more about aroids?
To join the International Aroid Society click here: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Join%20IAS.html
Out of print copies of Aroideana can often be ordered directly from the International Aroid Society: http://www.aroid.org/
Specimens may be available from Natural Selections Exotics
Brian's Botanicals http://www.briansbotanicals.net/
Want to learn more about aroids?
Join the International Aroid Society: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Join%20IAS.html