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  Philodendron selloum
From: dave-poole at ilsham.demon.co.uk on 1999.01.28 at 09:14:30(2960)
I'm curious to hear of any successes with this species as a permanent
garden plant in 'cool' areas ie. USDA Zones 9 or above. Having gone
through a winter here in England, where even Taro (Colocasia
esculenta) has not died down and is now starting to produce new
leaves, I'm very tempted to try this in a sheltered corner. I
understand the leaves are often killed by frost, but the 'trunk' can
and does survive down to around 27F or even lower.

I appreciate it probably needs good, hot humid conditions in order to
make up in summer, but my little patch (a very sheltered, south
facing, walled garden in the far south-west) is invariably very warm
and humid throughout the spring, summer and autumn months. Daytime
highs of the mid to upper 80's and night-time lows in the upper 60's
are not at all uncommon even during a comparatively cool summer.
Gardenia jasminoides 'Florida', 'Butterfly gingers' (Hedychiums
coronarium & gardnerianum) and even Christmas (Bracket) Cactus
(Schlumbergera) flourish and flower without any problems

David Poole

From: Steve & Missy Kennedy <stevemissy at mindspring.com> on 1999.02.01 at 08:53:23(2981)
I don't know how it will do in cool summer situations. As I live in the USA
Zone 7b on the east coast where we have hot and humid summers, but cold
winters. It is reliably root hardy here ( 0F ). I have for the past two
years tried to save the trunk with protection with good success. How ever
we have had mild winters the past two winters with the lows only in the
teens. I hope this helps you.

- Steve

From: "Mr R.a McClure" <Rob.McClure at sci.monash.edu.au> on 1999.02.02 at 20:17:23(2995)
> Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 11:17:02 -0600
> From: dave-poole@ilsham.demon.co.uk
> Subject: Philodendron selloum
From: "Petra Schmidt" petra at plantdelights.com> on 2001.12.11 at 07:35:02(7877)
Philodendron selloum (now bipinnatifidum) has been in the hort trade for
ages...can anyone tell me who supplied the first introductions or where
(plant source) it originated?
Also, has anyone overwintered it successfully in zones colder than Zone 7b?
Has anyone tried?
From: Iza & Carol Goroff goroff at idcnet.com> on 2001.12.11 at 12:10:26(7880)
I can't answer any of Petra's questions, but the mention of the plant gives me
an opportunity to tell of my oldest aroid. I acquired my plant around 1971. It
has lived in five different places since, the current location its first
greenhouse. It has a stem 20" (50 cm) tall and eleven leaves, each leaf blade
about 26" (65 cm) long. Its stem would be much longer except for rotting in the
middle on two previous occasions. Although that mecessitated repotting, there
was no slowdown in growth since most of its functioning roots were from above
the rotted section, many of them circling its pot on the floor. It has bloomed
on a few occasions, though not recently. It lives in a 20 gallon terra cotta
pot with the bulk of its roots on the greenhouse tile floor.

Iza Goroff

From: "brian williams" pugturd50 at hotmail.com> on 2001.12.11 at 13:15:51(7885)
Hello Petra. I had an offset of philo selloum survive a few years back. It
was an extremely mild winter. But it did lose all its leafs and struggled to
come back.

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.12.11 at 15:47:10(7886)
Dear Petra,

Can you get or do you have Mayo`s 'A Revision of Philodendron subgenus
Meconostigma (Araceae)', Kew Bullitin Vol. 46 ( I have a copy) and his 1990
'History and infragenitic nomenclature of Philodendron (Araceae) Kew Bull.
45 ( 1 ): 37-71 ( I do NOT have a copy of this!)? Though he does not give
precise dates in his 'revision' paper (it seems that the 1990 paper has more
detaile on the introduction dates) , there is enough recorded to know that
this species (there is still confusion over exactly how many 'good' species
there are in the complex, some w/ green spathes, others w/ maroon spathe
exteriors) was in Europe in the early 1800`s, Schott brought back specimens
for cultivation to Vienna (Mayo notes that the name had been validly
published in 1837), and must have spread to the Americas sometime after

An interesting observation I have made is that in pre-tissue culture days,
several ( ? ) years ago, this plant used to be grown in commercial
quantities here in WPB from seed obtained by hand-pollination. The plants
thus produced showed quite a wide range of leaf form, differently colored
petioles/veins and overall form/shape, all of which were 'lost' once they
began to produce them by using just one 'donner' mother plant in tissue
In the collection of Jim Enck, a long-time member of the IAS here in WPB,
Joep Moonen, (who visited Jim with me a couple/three years ago), was amazed
and thrilled to see some of the OLD selections of this now VERY common but
'all the same' plant that Jim had obtained 'way back when' from commercially
available plants grown from seed! A couple were FAR superior to the one
'clone' now being produced in mass.



From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.12.11 at 16:52:30(7889)
Dear Iza,

Thanks for the story of this old plant!
here in Florida, this species grows QUICKLY to a gigantic size, and under
the right conditions, planted in good soil next to a palm tree, can be seen
with an erect rhizome standing against the palm tree trunk, which it
'embraces' with it`s cable-like roots, to a height of over 15 ft., and a
leaf spread of 7-8 ft. If it does not have a tree trunk to support it`s
upward growth, it seems 'happy' to grow along the ground, it`s 'head' held
vertically, thill the rhizome can be 10 or many more feet long, and about 8"
in dia. It can get this large in 10 -15 years.

Good growing!


From: "Clarence Hammer" chammer at cfl.rr.com> on 2001.12.12 at 12:01:07(7895)
Ref Petra's comments. P. selloum is now bipinnatifidum? I'm not aware of
this, all my information indicates they have been and are 2 distinct
species. Anyone?

From: Neil Carroll zzamia at hargray.com> on 2001.12.12 at 15:04:17(7897)
Russ, Petra's pretty knowledgable on this stuff. The following is
paraphrased from Aroids by Deni Bown:

some confusion has existed in the past over P. selloum and P.
bipinnatifidum....Engler considered them seperate species. the two names
have in the past been used to differentiate two different populations
(Gottsberger and Amaral 1984) and In 1991 Mayo joined the two into one
single species ....P. bippinatifidum is the true name....P. selloum has been
reduced into synonomy.


From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2001.12.13 at 07:44:52(7900)
In a message dated Tue, 11 Dec 2001 4:16:25 PM Eastern Standard Time, "brian williams" writes:

I am
> slowly working on it.

From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 2001.12.13 at 07:46:12(7906)
To add to Neil's comments below and Julius' earlier about older collections
of this species in Florida, some older FL hort books and trade publications
listed both P. selloum and P. bipinnatifidum as distinct species. About 20-30
years ago in the FL nursery trade sometimes the names were used almost in a
varietal or even cultivar sense. During those years in the hort trade, the P.
bipinnatifidum "form" was considered superior and more sought after. I seem
to recall from my retail nursery days in the early-mid 1980s that any plant
labeled with the name P. bipinnatifidum sold for a higher price than those
labeled as P. selloum. Probably some unscrupulous nursery owners capitalized
on this and labeled all their seedling plants with this name to garner a few
more dollars, other growers actually produced cuttings taken from some select
forms and gave them the P. bipinnatifidum name to distinguish them. The
latter were far less common in cultivation and quite rightly fetched the
highest price. Occasionally some newspaper or magazine article would
elaborate on these plants and discuss the various points of difference
between the two "forms" in cultivation. Afterwards customers would come in
asking for P. bipinnatifidum and would turn up their noses at any plant
labeled with the P. selloum name as a "common" seedling of unknown parentage,
and less desirable, thus we always tried to keep a small supply of plants,
acquired from trusted wholesale sources as cutting-grown P. bipinnatifidum,
for our more "discriminating" buyers! In the back nursery area we kept some
stock plants of a few superior P. bipinnatifidum forms to propagate for
special customers, because we could not always find a wholesale source for
the "true" P. bipinnatifidum grown only from cuttings. Later, this P.
bipinnatifidum name became lost in the trade and all you could find were the
uniform plants labeled as P. selloum. I guess it simply became uneconomical
for wholesale growers to produce cuttings of those special forms, so one
could no longer find all the variations of this species in nurseries.

Donna Atwood

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.12.13 at 18:21:18(7908)
Dear Petra, Donna and Friends,

In the interest of clarity, I will just give a LITTLE more information taken
from Simon Mayo`s EXCELLENT paper, "A revision of Philodendron subgenus
Meconostigma (Araceae)', published in the Kew Bullitin Vol. 46 ( 4 ), and
then give my OPINION (and as we all know, opinions are like noses, EVERYONE
has one :--)> ).
Dr. Mayo takes great pains to point out that this is a very confused taxon,
occuring in a WIDE area of distribution, and may consist of several species,
some as yet undescribed. The two main ones in question are P.
bipinnatifidium Schott 1832, and P. selloum C. Koch1853 or 1854, (some
confusion here).
Dr. Mayo writes as follows---'P. bipinnatifidium, as circumscribed here is a
very variable taxon in morphology and color of leaf and inflorescence. The
main unifying character is the bipinnatifid leaf blade'---he goes on to
state--'Like other authors who have studied this species complex in the
recent past'---'I have taken a broad view of the species. This seems to be
the only practical way of dealing with taxanomic difficulties for which
current knowledge does not provide satisfactory soloutions'. He goes on to
explain that the original dsecription was by Schott ---(plant probably
collected from near Rio de Janero) and that Schott`s manuscript description
of 1884 show that his plant had a spathe tube colored purple-brown
externally, a gynoceum with a well developed central style dome and the
female zone adnate to the spathe for about half it`s length.
P. selloum was described by C. Koch (to cut a long story short, it was from
cultivated material in Berlin sent to Koch by his friend H. Sello, head
gradener at Sans Souci, the Imperial Prussian estate at Potsdam, and Koch
did not see fertile material). Dr. Mayo notes that the confusion between
these two names may have it`s origin in the professional rivalry between
Schott and Koch. Schott left illustrations in his Icones Aroideae of his
P. bipinatifidium and P. selloum, and his illus. of P. selloum showed a
spathe colored green externally, a pistil with a deep style funnel and NO
central dome , and the female zone of the spadix adnate to the spathe for
OVER half its length. Engler (1878: 170), who studied Schott`s
illustrations, distinguished P. selloum by its green spathe tube longer than
the spathe blade, and the entirely adnate female zone. This work by Engler
is probably the 'why' of the two names, and when Mayo wrote this paper I am
quoting from is when people began considering that the two species were
Now for MY opinion ( which is like a nose, etc. etc. etc.). Based on what
I have just detailed, I concur with Dr. Mayo that MUCH more study needs to
be done with this complex before I can say with certainity whether there are
two or even more species involved in this group of broadly distributed
plants, BUT based on the features of spathe color (exterior and interior),
size of the respective inflorescences, and especially the seemingly major
differences in the structure of the female flowers and the length that the
female portion of the spadix that is adnate to the spathe, that there
probably are at LEAST two species involved here, so as it stands now P.
bipinnatifidum and P. selloum can be distinguished one from the other, and
in my opinion may eventually be 'ruled' to be two 'good' and different
The plants that I have studied here in Florida all have an all-green spathe
exterior, I have not as yet sen a plant with a purple-brown spathehe
exterior (I THINK someone told me there were plants w/ red-brown spathes in
Another 'species' that has been placed into synonomy with P. bipinnatifidium
by in Dr Mayo`s in paper is
P. pygmaeum Chodat & Vischer 1880 from Paraguay, I THINK I`ve seen a plant
of this VERY distinctive small Philodendron, (any of you who were in Miami
last Sept. may have seen me on Sat. morning wandering around with a leaf of
this plant in my hand). There is a paper in which there must be a
discussion on this plant, it is by Dr. Croat and D. Mount. I`d like to
read the section about it, if anyone has a copy please contact me, it
is--'Croat, T. B. & Mount, D. (1988) The monocotyledons- A Comparative
Study. 378 pp., Acadamia Press, London.'
This is a MOST interesting discussion, and Donna`s information given below
gives me ammunition to go ask my old buddy Jim about! He will remember the
names and ways these plants used to be sold in the 'good old days'.

Good growing,

Julius Boos

From: "brian williams" pugturd50 at hotmail.com> on 2001.12.13 at 21:24:42(7909)
Dear Julius and others. I thought it maybe interesting to know that ALVIM
SEIDEL the nursery in Brazil. Has Philo selloum seeds for sell. Not only one
form but all these forms.
selloum 9.00
From: "Clarence Hammer" chammer at cfl.rr.com> on 2001.12.13 at 21:26:24(7911)
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. Very
interesting, and enlightening. I did not
know that selloum/bipinnatifidum were considered the same in any circles,
but being 'at large' for my entire
'Aroid life', information has always been hard to come by.

Does the selloum variety 'Uruguay' still exist somewhere? My old Exotica
references a 'German Selloum'
from German seed considered a more graceful form, finely cut and wavy leaf

From: Neil Crafter golfstra at senet.com.au> on 2001.12.13 at 21:57:07(7912)
I think Simon also reduced P.mello-barretoanum to synonomy under
P.bipinnatifidum. Having only seen photos of this plant I must admit to being a
little shocked with this as the leaf form seems substantially different. Have
you seen this plant in the flesh?

here in Australia all these plants are lumped in as P.selloum but I think they
are not all tissue cultured plants as you can still find some with variety in
leaf forms. I have a nice one growing here that is more pinnatifidum than
"bi"pinnatifidum, as the leaves are cut once but only the merest hint of twice.
Still clearly a Meconostigma plant nevertheless.

I have just selfed my large bipinnatifiduma nd have quite a few seedlings
growing now and I'll be interested to see what variety the seedlings show in
leaf form.

Also I have never seen a red spathed form out here, or anywhere for that matter.
Green rules!

So much work to be done by someone and so little time!

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.12.14 at 07:29:26(7913)
Dear Neil,

Here is the entire list (abbrevated here by me for space ) given by Simon
of Philo. 'sps'. (and I give all the names) he THEN considered as synonmyns
of P. bipinnatifidium --

P. bipinnatifidium Schott ex Endlicher
[Arum pinnatifidium Vellozo (1831)]
[Sphincterostigma bipinnatifidium Schott 1832]
P. selloum C. Koch 1853
P. lundii Warming 1867
P. bipinnatifidium Schott ex Endl. var. lundii (Warming) Engl. 1878
P. selloum K. C. Koch var. lundii (Warming) Engl. 1879-80
?P. pygmaeum Chodat & Vischer 1920
P. mello-barretoanum G. M. Barroso 1957

As is indicated in the paper, this is a COMPLEX of a very variable taxon, so
the leaf shape varies a LOT, even here in Florida amongst some of the old,
grown-from-seed OR seleted from cuttings specimens. The plants now being
sold in bulk from tissue culture are all more or less alike (as one would
The illus. of the gynoceum of this 'species' in Simon`s work shows two
specimens, he clearly states that they are the extremes of thes 'forms', and
MAN are they are VERY different one from the other!
I believe eventually lots more work will be done on this species complex.



From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.12.14 at 07:31:58(7914)
Dear Russ,

I`m sure all of the 'forms' that you remember and mention below are still in
cultivation, but I`d GUESS that with the publication of Dr. Mayo`s paper
which synonomised many into one (P. bipinnatafidium) that the growers just
'dropped' labeling them, and all have 'fallen' into just one or two names,
either P. 'selloum' (the commercial name under which they are sold in bulk)
or P. bipinnatifidium, the name that us 'scientifically minded' guys tend to
use. A few old-timers like my friend Jim still remember the old forms, and
take pains to point them out when you visit!!
As Brian mentions, seed of some of these old forms are available from Dr.
Seidel in Brazil, I would not mind going in on an order and seeing what we
can grow out of them!

Good growing,


From: Tony Avent tony at plantdel.com> on 2001.12.14 at 07:32:17(7915)

The plant of P. selloum to which Petra alludes is one that I planted
nearly 15 years ago when I worked at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh
NC. Someone had left the plant after a weekend flea market, so we planted
it in our "tropical garden" there, as an after thought. The first year, we
mulched it lightly and was surprised when it returned. Since it was large
next year, we left it unmulched and have done so ever since. It has been
through at least four winters of zero degrees F.

After I left eight years ago, the plant has been virtually unattended and
almost shaded out, but it is still alive. Since this time, I have tried a
couple of locally purchased P. selloum plants, but have had none to survive
our winters. I can only imagine that high elevation forms might be quite
reliable in zone 7b.


From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2001.12.14 at 07:32:32(7916)
Dear Aroiders,

Just a quick note from a busy man. It seems that at least three species
reduced to synonimy under P. bipinnatifidum by Simon are good species: P.
bipinnatifidum itself (from Southeastern South America, including Argentina,
Paraguay, Uruguay, Southern Brazil and Brazilian shore up to Rio de
Janeiro); P. mello-barretoanum (central Brazil, mainly middle to uplands of
Goias and Mato Grosso, maybe Bolivia too) and P. lundii (Goi?s, Minas Gerais
and Bahia, usually above 800m). As far as I could observe, they are
different not only geographically, but also morphologically, but most
differences are in the stems and petioles (and also inflorescences), not in
their leaves. However, when Simon made his revision of the group, there
weren't appropriate collections of all taxa, so most of the plants he could
see were true P. bipinnatifidum (including the elusive "P. selloum", that
seems to be the same thing anyway). Since then, I could collect a lot of
material and look for patterns. I have a paper almost done, probably to be
published in the next Aroideana, if I can complete a couple of things.

Very best wishes,


From: Arno King arnoking at yahoo.com> on 2001.12.14 at 19:06:33(7917)
Some 10 years ago I visited the Seidel Nursery in
Corupa, Brazil. Behind the shadehouses, the large
arborescent Philodendrons are grown in what I remember
to be a large paddock area.

There were many plants in this area and there were a
lot of different species or forms collected from all
around Brazil. Some were very different to anything I
had ever seen before.The plants were very large and I
was told how they were hand pollinated to set seed. I
suspect that there would also be some natural cross
pollination ocuuring between plants.

I have seen quite a bit of variation in seedlings
grown from this seed. I was also told that the
Phildendron marketed as 'Xanadu'(also known as
'Winterborn') came up in this seed in a nursery in
Perth, Western Australia. A similar plant recently
came up in seed grown in a nursery in Wynnum,

From: "Clarence Hammer" chammer at cfl.rr.com> on 2001.12.17 at 21:05:19(7937)
Thank you all for the great feedback concerning P. selloum, bipinnatifidum
and others. It definitely seems
a lot more work on this group is necessary to sort these plants out. The
apparent variability of each doesn't
help matters.

From: Tony Avent tony at plantdel.com> on 2001.12.18 at 08:10:29(7940)

Before the shade began to encroach on the planting I mentioned, the P.
selloum would reach 2' tall x 4' wide each season.

The fact that it
>is now 'shaded out' tells me it may have a bit warmer microclimate under a
>canopy of trees which may help it survive future winters, but will not be
>good for summer growth in
>deep shade.
>How large does this plant get during the summer? 3 or 4 foot leaves, or
>much smaller?
Tony Avent

From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2001.12.18 at 08:10:52(7942)
In a message dated Tue, 18 Dec 2001 12:06:11 AM Eastern Standard Time, "Clarence Hammer" writes:

The fact that it
> is now 'shaded out' tells me it may have a bit warmer microclimate under a
> canopy of trees which may help it survive future winters, but will not be
> good for summer growth in
> deep shade.

From: "Clarence Hammer" chammer at cfl.rr.com> on 2001.12.21 at 06:30:57(7968)
Thanks for that info, Tony. In spite of it's obvious hardiness, if you ever
to give this plant a climate more to it's liking, I'll be happy to pay the
Note: this is a very old post, so no reply function is available.