Within our collection we have many species of Philodendron. If you are seeking other photos, click this link
Philodendron lacerum (Jacq.) Schott
A member of Philodendron section Polytomium, Philodendron lacerum (LASS-er-um) was published to science in 1829. At one time the plant was actually noted as a "Philodendrum". Philodendron lacerum is found in nature in Jamaica, Cuba, and on the island of Hispaniola including both the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Philodendron lacerum grows as either an epiphyte (ep-a-FIT) or a hemiepiphytic species. An epiphyte (ep-a-FIT) is as species that grows upon the side of branches of a tree as a result of a seed being placed in the tree in the droppings of a bird, animal or bat. A hemiepiphyte (hem-a-EPA-fit) normally begins life as a seed which has fallen to the ground and then climbs the host tree. Hemiepiphytes may also be epiphytic (a plant that begins life on the branch of a tree) and then drop roots to the soil that become firmly established in the soil.
The multi-lobed leaf blades of Philodendron lacerum are green to grey-green and are semi-glossy on the adaxial (upper) surface. The underside of the leaf blade (abaxial surface) is a slightly darker green and also has a more glossy appearance than the upper surface. The leaf blades are moderately coriaceous (less than leathery to the touch) and slightly bi-colorous. The midrib is sharply convex and slightly paler on the upper surface. On the underside of the blade the mid-rib is also convex. All of the minor veins are moderately distinct. The petioles (commonly called stems) are slightly flattened.
The cataphylls which are simply a modified leaf that surround and protect any newly developing leaf blade measure up to 40cm (15.75 inches) long and being deciduous fall from the plant once the new leaf develops.
All Philodendron species are aroids. An aroid is a plant that reproduces by producing an inflorescence known to science as a spathe and spadix. Most people believe the spathe is a "flower", it is not. The spathe is simply a specially modified leaf appearing to be a hood whose purpose is to protect the spadix at the center. The spadix is a spike on a thickened fleshy axis which can produce tiny flowers. On the spadix at the center of the inflorescence there can be found very tiny flowers when the plant is at anthesis. When ready to reproduce, the spadix produces male, female and sterile flowers which if pollinated by an appropriate insect, normally a beetle, will produce berries containing seeds.
One of our specimens originated as a cutting from a wild plant collected in Cuba. A cutting of that specimen was grown to its adult size and can be seen in Buddy Poulsen's photo at the top of this page. Our second specimen of Philodendron lacerum was taken from a cutting of a wild plant collected in Jamaica by expert aroid grower Conrad Fleming in Hanover Parrish approximately 30 minutes west of Montego Bay in the mountains south of Lucea, Jamaica. Both are grown in moderately bright light in fast draining porous soil.
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. Click here.
My appreciation to aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis for identifying this specimen from a cutting taken to his office in June, 2008.
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