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  identity of the dwarf Monstera deliciosa
From: "Peter Boyce" p.boyce at rbgkew.org.uk> on 2000.05.27 at 02:21:49(4639)

The dwarf Monstera deliciosa that many of you grow is
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, native to Peninsular malaysia and
southern Thailand.


From: Betsytrips at aol.com on 2000.05.27 at 15:25:49(4643)
Interesting information. Thanks for coming thru with it. Has this just been
ID'ed or has this info been around for a bit?


From: hermine hermine at endangeredspecies.com> on 2000.05.27 at 20:48:58(4645)
At 08:25 AM 05/27/2000, Betsytrips@aol.com wrote:
>Interesting information. Thanks for coming thru with it. Has this just been
>ID'ed or has this info been around for a bit?

From: "Peter Boyce" Boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2000.05.28 at 21:24:36(4648)
Betsy, Hermine and others

I've only recently been lucky enough to study flowering material of the
'dwarf Monstera deliciosa' in Munich B.G. so it's new info.


From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 2000.05.30 at 22:19:01(4651)
We have this "dwarf Monstera deliciosa" here at Selby Gardens. It has always
been puzzling. Some people thought it might be an unknown Amydrium. I believe
this plant has been discussed on the newslist before and I am sure everyone
is relieved to know what it really is. We got this plant when it was in the
trade about 8-10 years ago, back when it was common practice to use tree fern
totems for growing vines. Origin was unknown. When grown on a totem, it has
the ungainly habit of sending its long shoots downward. We propagated
divisions of this plant and grew them out in our display house to see if
leaves or growth habit would change once it grew larger. After the stems grew
down and touched the ground then they headed back upwards, but tended to
scramble around quite a bit. This behavior made it difficult to keep the
plant on the totem. Guess this is why it went out of production. Its an easy
plant to grow in central-south Florida but never gets large leaf blades like
Monstera deliciosa. Since it so resembled a Monstera everyone came to call it
the "dwarf" Monstera deliciosa. That name never seemed to "fit" but at least
it gave us something to call it.

Rhaphidophora look very much like Monstera. Being in the same subtribe they
must be closely related. What are the main morphological differences between
Monstera and Rhaphidophora? Is it primarily some kind of microscopic
character (locules, placentation?) that distinquishes the two genera?

Donna Atwood
Selby Gardens

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.05.30 at 22:26:14(4656)
Dear Pete and Friends,

I`m JUST back from a few days in Fr. Guyana, so am not 'up' on this
discussion, but have read where you ID the 'Dwarf' Monstera deliciosa as a
Raphidophora from Malasia. There is, however, a small ('Dwarf'?) true form
of varigated Monstera deliciosa around in collections here in Florida, the
leaves are about 6"-8" in Dia., and it seems to have more of a climbing
habit and has longer internodes than the 'regular' Monstera deliciosa.
Which one are we refering to? Hermine seems to have the 'true' one.



From: Mitsukiwi at aol.com on 2000.05.31 at 02:16:16(4657)
Is there a picture of this plant somewhere on the web or did I miss it?



From: "Peter Boyce" p.boyce at rbgkew.org.uk> on 2000.06.01 at 23:56:53(4671)
Dear Donna (and anyone else)

Rhaphidophora and Monstera are, indeed, separated on fruit
characteristics. Rhaphidophora has it's seeds (usually many,
occasionally as few as four) arranged in two ranks running up the
walls of the fruit and the mature seeds have endosperm; Monstera
has few seeds (four, occasionally less), arranged in pairs in the
middle of the fruit and the mature seeds lack endosperm.
Fascinating, eh?


From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 2000.06.03 at 01:47:23(4675)
Pete, thanks for the explanation. I checked "Genera of the Araceae" and it
seemed that the number of ovules and placentation were different but I did
not read on further about the seeds. Is Monstera the only genus within the
Monstereae without endosperm?
From: "Peter Boyce" Boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2000.06.03 at 14:56:27(4684)
Hi Donna

In Monstereae, Monstera is the only genus lacking endosperm (although
endosperm is spase in Rhodospatha and Scindapsus and we don't know what the
seeds of Alloschemone are like). In the Mosteroideae endosperm is absent in
Anadendrum and Heteropsis (Anandendreae and Heteropsideae).

Off to Leiden to attend a Biogeography conference later today - back next

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.06.04 at 22:06:38(4687)
Dear Friends,

I am trying to get this 'dwarf Monstera deliciosa' item clear in my
brain---are we saying that there are NO plants that look VERY simular to the
'giant' Monstera deliciosa that are collections of a smaller, 'dwarf' form
of this giant plant from Mexico (and Guatemala??). There are small plants
around with leaves about 10" or so across that are called M. deliciosa, one
form has white stripes/varigations on its leaves, the other is plain green.
>From waht I recall these smaller plants do not have as many splits and
fenestrations ('windows') in their leaf blades. I believe that these were
discussed on this L some time ago, and the opinion then was that these were
a newer collection than the old, giant form of M. deliciosa, and that maybe
they were from Guatemala??? SO---we are concluding that there is only
the original GIANT form of M. deliciosa from Mexico, and that the smaller
plants that LOOK simular in shape and form, but are more 'viney' than this
giant plant, all of these plants are in fact Raphidophora tertasperma from

Have a great trip, Pete, and we look forward to hearing from you on your



From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.06.08 at 21:35:37(4690)
Dear Friends,

I believe that some clarification on this issue is in order, as there IS in
fact a smaller or several smaller 'clones' of TRUE Monstera deliciosa in
cultivation, in addition to the 'dwarf' plant which looks like a small M.
deliciosa which Pete has kindly I.D.`d as Raphidophora tetrasperma from
Peninsular Malaysia. The late Dr. Monroe Birdsey had a plant of this
Raphidophora in his collection in Miami, which I believe he did not know the
I.D. of though it was know to have been from Asia. Dr Tom Croat has
confirmed that he has seen the very large, more well-know var. of M.
deliciosa in only one area of Mexico, on limestone cliffs in the Uxpanapa
region. He says -- 'Elsewhere most of the populations are smaller, some
perforated and or incised-lobate or not, but not elaborately so. In
Panama, for example the blades are often not even perforate. Nevertheless
the inflorescences are the same throughout and there appear to be no major
discontinuities of characteres for all these populations'. So--there are
plants of smaller ('dwarf'?) Monstera deliciosa around in collections, both
all-green and varigated, and in addition there may be this small species
from Asia, Raphidophora tetrasperma which could be mistaken for a dwarf form
of Monstera deliciosa.

Hope we are clearer on this now!! Thanks to Tom for the clarification.

Cheers and good growing to all,


From: "Peter Boyce" Boyce at pothos.demon.co.uk> on 2000.06.10 at 17:13:36(4708)
Dear All

There are two clones of true M. deliciosa in cultivation. One is a giant
with roughened petioles and leaves up to metre long and wide with deep
splits and lots of medium to quite large perforations. The other clone is a
much more gracile thing with smooth petioles and smaller leaves with fewer
perforations. This latter clone is the one that is most often sold
commercially in Europe. The latter plant is also available in a
white-variegated form.

Both the giant rough-petioled and the smaller smooth-petioled plant, are
stout climbers, are never slender-stemmed and viny in the way the so-called
'dwarf M. deliciosa' (i.e. R. tetrasperma) and both match very well M.
delicosa in the wild in Mexico and Guatemala.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is long-stemmed, slender and viny, leaves are
seldom more than 25 cm long and wide, are few-splitting and have no
perforations. Infloresecences are not more than 10 cm long (M. deliciosa
produces much, much larger inflorescences, and are carried at the tips of
long, often pendent, stems that hang free in the air (M. deliciosa flowers
at the tips of stems clinging to the climbing surface.

Best wishes


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