The Genus Pycnospatha

by Wilbert Hetterscheid

Now this is an odd genus indeed. With a morphology that reminds us most of Dracontium, we find a fair geographical disjunction here between S. America and Asia. Then again, who says that both genera are sister genera? Confined to a small border region between east central Thailand and Cambodia, the two species live a relatively undetected life. Recently,however, quite regularly people run into P. arietina and mistake it for an Amorphophallus for obvious reasons (a tuber, an alien inflorescence and an umbrella-like leaf). We are happy that the second, smaller species, P. palmata has been introduced into cultivation as well recently.

Relevant recent literature on this genus is:

Bogner, J., 1973[1974]. Die Gattung Pycnospatha Thorel ex Gagnep. (Araceae). Oesterr. Bot. Zeitschr. 122: 199 - 216.

Boyce, P.C., 1993. Pycnospatha arietinaKew Mag. 10: 121 - 124.

Pycnospatha arietina Gagnep.

Pycnospatha palmata Gagnep.

Pycnospatha soerensenii S.Y. Hu = P. arietina


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