Anthurium cutucuense Madison

Anthurium cutucuense

Anthurium cutucuense Madison, Selbyana 2(2,3): 256. 1978

Etymology: Occurring in the Cordillo de Cutucu a mountain range in south eastern Ecuador

Distribution: Once thought to be endemic to the Cordillo de Cutucu, collector Betsy Feurstein has, in recent years, found Anth. cutucuense to the south in the region known as El Condor.

Sectional Placement: Anth. cutucuense is a member of section Dactylophyllium

Description: Anthurium cutucuense Madison, sp. nov.; Frutex funicularis in arborum ad 8m scandens. Caudex teres, 1-2 cm crassus, internodiis 6-10 cm longis. Petioli rubro-punctulati, 35-45 cm longi. Lamina metallica-venosa. valde bullata,, trisecta lobis lateralis lobum medium aequantibus; lobus medius lanceolatus, 4-5 cm latus, 25-35 cm longus, lobi laterales aliquantum falcati, costis rubris. Pedunculus petiolo duplo brevior. Spatha viridis, reflexa; spadix virdis, erecturs, sessilis, cylindricus, 12-15 cm longus, 9-10 mm crassus; fructus ignotus.

Type locale: Ecuador, Prov. Marona-Santiago, Cordillera de Cutucu, cloud forest, elev. 1830 m.

A. cutucense in habitat
Anthurium cutucuense in habitat in the Cordillo de Cutucu. elev.1400 m.
Photo by Neil Carroll

Notes: In southeastern Ecuador is a ridge of mountains that is slightly separated from the Andes and overlooks the Amazon Basin. Named Cordillo de Cutucu, inhabited by Schwara Indians and lacking roads, the ridge is only accessible by foot and horse. Dense rainforest and cloud forest dripping with aroids, ferns, orchids, bromeliads and other epiphytes, clothes the entire ridge and is home to one of the most distinctive members in the genus, Anthurium cutucuense.

Anthurium cutucuense has a trisected leaf blade that is divided all the way back to the red speckled petiole, it is very bullate and the upper surface is dark metallic green. The back of the leaf is also of interest with its light crystalline surface divided down the middle with red midveins. The plant starts its life as a seedling on or near the forest floor and climbs its way up the moss and epiphyte covered trunk of a nearby tree. During early stages of development, Anth. cutucuense has long internodes and single leaflets on thin wiry stems. As it climbs towards brighter light and a better view, Anth. cutucuense develops its' characteristic trisected leaves and the internodes begin to get closer together.

This species is not of easy culture probably due to its high altitude origins and cloud forest habitat. The Atlanta Botanical Garden has living specimens of this species and does well with them in their state of the art greenhouse conditions.

Copyright © 2007 by Neil Carroll. All rights reserved.


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