Type Panama. Chiriquí: Cerro Colorado, along road to copper mining area N of San Felix, 8°33'N, 81°52'W, 1,500 m, António 1513 (MO 2782437, holotype).
Epiphyte; stems to 25 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm diam.; internodes to 1.5 cm long on lower part of stem, shorter near apex; roots sparse, long-slender; cataphylls 3-6 cm long, drying reddish brown, persisting more or less intact or weathering into coarse fibers.
LEAVES erect-spreading; petioles 6-16 cm long, ca. 3-4 mm diam. sulcate, rounded abaxially; geniculum ca. 1.5 cm long; blades ovate-elliptic to oblong-elliptic, abruptly acuminate at apex (the acumen ca- I cm long, downturned), obtuse to subroundcd (rarely acute) at base, 8-15 cm long, 3.5-6.5 on wide, broadest near middle or below, both surfaces glandular-punctate; midrib raised on both surfaces; primary lateral veins 10-13 per side, departing midrib at 45° angle, drying raised above and below; interprimary veins drying raised above and below; collective vein arising from near the base, 5-10 mm from margin.
INFLORESCENCE erect-spreading, equalling or longer than leaves; peduncle 8-18 cm long, ca. 3 mm diam., equalling or to 3 times longer than petioles; spathe moderately thin, green, sometimes tinged red, oblong-lanceolate, 3.5-4.5 cm long, 0.6-1 cm wide, broadest near base, acuminate at apex, obtuse at base, inserted at 45-60° angle on peduncle; spadix reddish to rust or maroon, 4-9 cm long, 3-5 mm diam. near base, 2-3 mm diam. near apex; flowers (dry) rhombic, ca. 3.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, the sides straight to weakly sigmoid; 3-5 flowers visible in either spiral; lateral tepals 1.5-1.6 mm wide, the inner margin broadly rounded; pistils not emergent; stamens probably quickly retracting, not visible on dry specimens.
INFRUCTESCENCE with spadix ca. 11 cm long, 6-10 mm diam., berries (dry) round, yellow or orange, 2-3 mm long, ca. 2-3 mm diam., with 4 weak ridges radiating from apex; seeds 1 or 2 (2 berries observed), whitish, ca. 2 mm long, 1.2-1.6 mm wide, ca. 0.8 mm thick, with a gelatinous appendage at one end only. Fig. 1.
Anthurium alticola is known from Panama and Colombia at elevations of 1,300 to 1,900 m in tropical wet, premontane rain, and lower montane forest life zones. The species, a member of section Porphyrochitonium, is characterized by its epiphytic habit, its long-petiolate, ovate-elliptic to oblong-elliptic, acuminate leaves, its frequently pinkish to red spathe, its generally reddish to rust or maroon spadix, and its yellow or orange berries.
The species occurs only at higher elevations, thus the name from the Latin "altus" (high) and "colo" (to dwell). It is represented in Panama by collections in Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro in western Panama and on Cerro Tacarcuna on the border between Darien and Choco in Colombia. Some Chiriquí collections, notably Hammel 2266 and Folsom & Dressler 5429, have elongate lower internodes and lack the persistent cataphylls more typical of the species.
The species has been described making use of only dried material. As a result, many of the details are not known, and the species remains among the most poorly understood. Eventual study of live material may well result in the separation of the collections into two or more taxa.
Map of Mesoamerican specimens with coordinates
Costa Rica Lim—n: 700 m, 9.22.50N 82.56.50W, 14 July 1989, Gerardo Herrera
Panama Chiriquí: Fortuna Dam Area, 1200 m, 8.45N 82.13W, 21 March 1985, Hampshire & Whitefoord 804 (BM).
Panama Chiriquí:, 7 December 1997, D.W. Roubik & L. Quroz 1283 .
Panama Chiriquí:, 7 December 1997, D.W. Roubik & L. Quroz 1311 .
Panama Darien: 1300-1500m, 8.09.5N 77.15.0W, 27 Oct 1987, B. Hammel G. de Nevers & H. Herrera 16571 (MO).
Panama Darien: 300-800 m, 07.58N 78.23W, 26 Noviembre 1990, H. Herrera & J. Polanco 804 (MO).
Panama Darien: -Colombia border, 1800 - 1850 m,, 28 Jan. 1975, Gentry & Mori 13993 (COL).
Panama Darien: 1720 m,, 21 July 1976, Gentry et al. 16902 (COL).
Panama Panamá: 900 m, 09.15.04N 79.30.04W, 1 March 1987, Gordon McPherson 10590 (MO).