Philodendron fragrantissimum (Hook.) G. Don in Sweet,
Hort. Brit. ed. 3: 632. 1839. Figures 30, 186--191.
Caladium fragrantissimum Hook., Bot. Mag. 61: t. 3314. 1834. TYPE: Guayana (specimen introduced by C. S. Parker in 1834 to Liverpool Botanical Garden). Holotype, (K).
Philodendron latipes K. Koch & Augustin in A. Braun et al., Append. Gen. Sp. Hort. Berol. 1854: 6. 1854-1855. TYPE: origin unknown. Holotype, B, destroyed. Burchell 9452 (K), neotype (here designated).
Philodendron poeppigii Schott, Syn. Aroid. 84. 1860. TYPE: Brazil. Amazonas. (Ega) Tefé, Poeppig s.n. (holotype, B).
Philodendron brevilaminatum Schott, J. Bot. 2: 4. 1864. TYPE: Brazil. Bahia: Ilheos, Archduke F. Maximilianius s.n., (holotype, lost; Schott ic. 3592 [neotype here designated].
Philodendron clementis C. Wright in Griseb., Cat. Pl. Cub., 220. 1866. TYPE: Cuba. near Retiro, Wright 3212 (lectotype, K, designated here).
Philodendron demerarae Gleason, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 56: 11. 1929. TYPE: Guyana. SE of Lamaha stop-off, 27 Nov. 1919, Hitchcock 16987 (holotype, NY).
Philodendron accrescens N. W. Simmonds, Kew Bull. 1951: 402. 1951. TYPE: Trinidad. Long Stretch, 15 Jan. 1949, Simmonds 14256 (holotype, TRIN).
or caulescent, stem appressed-climbing or rarely scandent with slender, whip-like
branches bearing small leaves, to 1--6 m long, sap orangish to brownish, sticky,
spicy-scented; internodes short, 1--4 cm diam., usually thicker than long, dark
green, semiglossy, obscured by cataphyll fibers, roots often many per node,
drying dark brown, 2--3 mm diam.; cataphylls sharply 2-ribbed or sharply D-shaped,
greenish white, sometimes drying reddish brown, persisting as persistent fibers,
margins weakly upturned below.
LEAVES erect-spreading; petioles 22--70 cm long, 4--11 mm diam., more or less D-shaped to sharply C-shaped, broadly sulcate adaxially; blades ovate to ovate-triangular, subcoriaceous, moderately bicolorous, acuminate at apex (the acumen sometimes inrolled or very short apiculate, 2--5 mm long), cordate at base, 21.6--59 cm long, 17--37.5 cm wide (1.1--1.7 times longer than wide), (0.7--1.3 times longer than petiole), about equal in length to petiole, upper surface semiglossy, lower surface semiglossy; anterior lobe 19.5--49 cm long, 17--39 cm wide, (2.1--3.9 times longer than posterior lobes); posterior lobes 5--16.5 cm long, 10--18.3 cm wide, obtuse to rounded; midrib broadly sunken, paler than surface above, convex, bluntly angular, paler than surface below; basal veins (3)4(5) per side, with (0)1(2) free to base, 1--2 coalesced 1--4 cm; posterior rib not naked or naked 1--4 cm along the sinus; primary lateral veins 3--6 per side, etched-sunken above, convex below; interprimary veins visible and discontinuous above; minor veins visible and darker than surface below, arising from both the midrib and primary lateral veins. INFLORESCENCES erect to semi-erect, 2 per axil; peduncle 3--13.5(17) cm long, 3--15 mm diam.; spathe 8.5--19 cm long, (1.2--3.6 times longer than peduncle); spathe blade white to greenish, rarely reddish outside, white to greenish inside; spathe tube reddish to dark maroon outside, red to maroon inside; spadix stipitate 3--4 mm long; cylindrical, 9--16 cm long, more or less uniform throughout; pistillate portion cylindrical, 2.5--5 cm long, 1.4 cm diam. throughout, 1.6 diam. at apex, 1.8 cm diam. at middle, 1.5 cm wide at base; staminate portion 6.3--7.8 cm long; fertile staminate portion creamy white, cylindrical, to 1.3 cm diam. at base, 1.4 cm diam. at middle, 1 cm diam. ca. 1 cm from apex, broadest in the middle and as broad as the pistillate and sterile portions; sterile staminate portion as broad as or broader than the pistillate portion, 1.2--1.5 cm diam.; pistils 3.2--3.5 mm long, 2.1--2.9 mm diam.; ovary 6--10-locular, with axile placentation; locules 1.6--2.3 mm long; ovules (24)32-36 per locule, 2-seriate, 0.2--0.3 mm long, more or less equal in length to funicle; funicle 0.2--0.3 mm long, style similar to style type D; stylar canals emerging into conspicuous depressions; style apex slightly concave to flat; stigma subdiscoid, (brush-like), unlobed, 2.1--2.7 mm diam., 0.5--0.7 mm high, covering entire style apex, inserted on entire style apex; the androecium 4--6-sided; thecae slightly obovate, 0.2--0.4 mm wide; sterile staminate flowers ellipsoidal to globose, 2.2--3 mm long.
INFRUCTESCENCE with stipe of spadix maroon; berries usually bright red to purple-red, sometimes orange, rarely yellowish white (McPherson 14496) to white (McPherson 11380).
Flowering in Philodendron fragrantissimum in both Panama and Middle America occurs during the rainy season from May to October (except September). Some post-anthesis collections from Middle America are scattered in the dry season as well (January and March). Post-anthesis collections are also principally from May through December (except October) as are immature fruiting collections (July through November). Mature fruits have been collected during May through December (except July and August).
Philodendron fragrantissimum ranges from Belize to Panama along the Caribbean coast and to Pacific Colombia (Chocó), then disjunctly to the Amazon basin, where it ranges from Venezuela to the Guianas, northern Brazil (Roraima and Amazonas), southern Colombia (Meta, Caquetá, Guajira, and Vaupes), and Peru (Amazonas, Loreto, Ucayali, and Madre de Dios). It is also known from Cuba and Trinidad and it is to be expected in Ecuador and in western Brazil. Ranging from near sea level to 1000 m elevation, this species occurs in Tropical moist forest, Premontane wet forest and Tropical wet forest life zones.
Philodendron fragrantissimum is a member of P. sect. Philodendron subsect. Macrolonchium. This species is distinguished by its short internodes, a tendency to produce slender, whip-like branches from near the apex, persistent, reddish brown cataphyll fibers, more or less D-shaped petioles with somewhat elevated, lateral margins, ovate to ovate-triangular, cordate blades (about equal to the petioles in length), and colorful inflorescences with the spathes bright red on the tube and white on the blade.
Philodendron fragrantissimum is not easily confused with any other species in Central America, since the combination of D-shaped petioles, persistent cataphylls and red and white inflorescences is unique, but it has been confused with the Venezuelan P. chimantae G. S. Bunting, which differs in having typically more triangular petioles that are actually winged (not merely ribbed) on the lateral adaxial margins, brown cataphylls persisting intact for a time before falling off, and blades with a much narrower sinus.
Philodendron fragrantissimum populations in South America, particularly in the Guiana region (the type locality), have nearly triangular rather than D-shaped petioles typical of those in Central America. In addition, the blade shape is more nearly triangular than ovate as in Central America. I believe, nevertheless, that differences between Central American and South American populations do not warrant taxonomic recognition.
Additional specimens examined.
BELIZE. Cayo: along Hummingbird Highway at Mile 28, Dwyer 11411 (MO); Mile 34, Gentle 9180 (LL). Stann Creek: Middlesex, Gentle 2951 (CM, MICH, RSA). Toledo: Punta Gorda--San Antonio, 1 mi. E of junction with road, 100 ft., Croat 24510 (MO). COSTA RICA. Alajuela: Cañas--Upala, near Río Zapote, 1.8--2.7 km S of Río Canalete, 100 m, Croat 36361 (MO). Cartago: Tucurrique, Las Vueltas, 635--700 m, Tonduz 13313 (G, US). Heredia: Zona Protectora, N slopes of Volcán Barba, along Quebrada Cantarana, 300--400 m, Grayum & Schatz 3179 (DUKE); La Selva, 100 m, Grayum 2436 (CR, MO); Río Sarapiquí, S base of Cerros Sardinal, Chilamate de Sarapiquí, 80--110 m, 10E27'30"N, 84E04'W, Grayum & Hammel 5541 (MO). Limón: Cantón de Talamanca, Amubri, 100 m, 9E31'N, 82E58'W, Hammel et al. 17512 (CR, MO); Barra del Colorado, 0--2 m, 10E47'N, 83E55'W, Stevens 24119 (CR, MO); Río Colorado, 1--5 m, 10E47'40"N, 8E35'30"W, Davidse & Herrera 30922 (CR, MO); Manzanillo de Talamanca, ca. 5 m, 9E38'N, 82E39'W, Grayum & Burton 4327 (MO); Fila Dimat--Río Uren, Finca de Hermógenes Pereira, Gómez et al. 23760 (MO, PMA); Hacienda Tapezco--Hacienda La Suerte, 29 air km W of Tortuguero, 40 m, 10E30'N, 83E47'W, Davidson & Donahue 8872 (RSA), 8641 (RSA), 8370 (MO, RSA), Davidson et al. 6766 (MO, RSA). Puntarenas: Piedras Blancas--Rincón, 3.7 mi. W of Pan-American Highway, 90--105 m, 8E46'N, 83E18'W, Croat 67652 (MO); 10 km W of highway, 200 m, 79169 (INB). GUATEMALA. Izabal: ca. 7 mi. S of Puerto Barrios, 50 m, Croat 41810 (GUAT, MO). HONDURAS. Atlántida: Parque Nacional Pico Bonito, ca. 10 km SW of La Ceiba, 220 m, 15E42'N, 86E50'W, Evans 1647 (MO); 80--180 m, 15E42'N, 86E51'W, Liesner 26183 (MO). Yoro: Cordillera Nombre de Dios, S of San José de Texíguat, 250--350 m, 15E30'N, 87E26'W, Davidse et al. 34398 (MO). NICARAGUA. Jinotega: Río Bocay, Caño Litutus, 175 m, 13E58'N, 85E21'W, Stevens 16680 (MO). Zelaya: Comarca del Cabo, Miguel Bikou, Robbins 5874 (F, GH, MO, NY); Bluefields, Neill 2587 (MO); Monkey Point, Caño El Pato, 10 m, 11E35'N, 83E42'W, Moreno 12464 (MO); ca. 13 km above Kururia, 200 m, Pipoly 3833 (MO); ca. 13 km above Kururia (ca. 14E39'N, 84E04'W), on road to San Jerónimo (14E42'N, 84E11'W), 200 m, Pipoly 3835 (MO); 3838 (MO); Colonia Kururia, 50 m, 14E41'N, 84E04'W, Pipoly 3884 (MO); Cerro Baká, ca 6.5 km E of Río Coperna, 200--300 m, 13E40'N, 84E30'W, Pipoly 4967 (MO); near Tala Has and Puente Mango (over Río Kisalya), 40--60 m, 14E41'N, 84E03'W, Stevens 7627 (MO); Rosita--Puerto Cabezas, ca. 15.7 km SW of Río Kukalaya, 100 m, 13E58'N, 84E12'W, Stevens 8526 (MO); Mina Nueva América Road, ca. Km 10, Stevens 12663 (MO); El Empalme--Limbaika, vic. of road to Alamikamba, ca. 25 m, 13E32'N, 84E30'W, Stevens 12738 (MO); ca. 1.5 km SE of Palmera, 60 m, 13E35'N, 84E20'W, Stevens 12847 (MO); Bahía de Bluefields, Round Cay, 0--15 m, 11E56'N, 83E45'W, Stevens 20069 (MO); Bluefields, Río Escondido, Molina 2019 (F); at junction of road to Alamikamba, ca. 25 m, 13E32'N, 84E30'W, Stevens 21747 (MO); Río Troncera, Waspam--Puerto Cabezas, 200 m, 14E43'N, 84E06'W, Pipoly 4056 (MO); Comarca El Cabo, Pine Savannas, Molina 15043 (F). PANAMA. Bocas del Toro: Chiriquí Grande, near Rambala, 250 m, 8E45'N, 82E15'W, McPherson 11148 (M, MISSA, MO); Chiriquí Lagoon, von Wedel 1148 (GH, MO). Canal Area: Pipeline Road, Km 5.6, Witherspoon 8606 (MO, SEL); 150 m, Nee 6589 (MO, RSA, US); 6591 (MO); Summit Gardens, Croat 10891 (F, MO, NY, SCZ); Frijoles, Standley 27477 (US); Ft. Randolph, Standley 28728 (US); Cerro Pelado, 1 km N of Gamboa, 200--220 m, Nee 7769 (MO, US); Cerro Viejo vicinity, on K16C, Blum 1273 (FSU, MO, PMA); Camp Piña, Ft. Sherman, Duke 4427 (MO); Barro Colorado Island, Kenoyer 184 (MO); 185 (US); Fairchild 3080 (US); Croat 6769 (MO); 4529 (MO); 11857 (MO); 11007 (MO); 10911 (MO, SCZ); 9042 (MO); 9410 (MO); Netting 44 (MO); ca. 400 m, Wetmore & Abbe 110A (MO); Shattuck 33 (F); Croat 9003 (MO); 6658 (MO, PMA, SCZ). Coclé: Llano Grande--Coclesito Road, Mile 12, 200 m, 8E47'N, 80E28'W, Churchill et al. 3995 (MO); Penonomé--Coclecito, above Río Cascajál, 5.7 mi. N of Llano Grande, 210 m, 8E40'N, 80E26'W, Croat 67542 (MO); El Valle region, La Mesa, 880 m, Croat 37574 (MO); 850 m, Wilbur et al. 15669 (MO). Colón: Miguel de la Borda, Croat 10014 (MO); Nuevo Tonosí--Río Indio, on road from Portobelo and Nombre de Dios, ca. 0 m, Croat 33539 (MO); Río Indio--Miguel de la Borda, Croat 36922 (MO); Tyson et al. 4546 (MO, SCZ); Santa Rita Ridge Road, Km 21--16, 500--550 m, 9E25'N, 79E37'W, Knapp 5851 (B, MO); Km 21, 400--500 m, 9E26'N, 79E38'W, Knapp & Schmalzel 1797 (MO); Km 18--20, 1000--1200 ft., 9E24'N, 79E39'W, Sytsma 2035 (MO, PMA); Km 16--18 km from highway, 300--400 m, 9E26'N, 79E37'W, Knapp 1773 (CM, K, MO). Darién: Puerto St. Dorotea, Dwyer 2256 (MO); Alturas de Nique Region, S of El Real, near Cana Mine, 550 m, 7E45'N, 77E40'W, McPherson 11496 (CAS, MO, PMA, RSA); trail NW of Cana, 600 m, Sullivan 669 (MO); Cerro Pirre region, along trail from base camp to Rancho Frío on slope of Cerro Pirre, 200--450 m, 7E58'N, 77E43'W, Croat & Zhu 77120 (MEXU, MO, PMA). Panamá: Cerro Jefe region, 5 mi. above Inter-American Highway on road to Cerro Azul, Croat 11526 (F, MO, NY, SCZ, UC); 3.5 mi. W of Lago Cerro Azul, Croat 11566 (MO); 5.8 mi. above Lago Cerro Azul, 840 m, 9E13'N, 79E22'W, J. Miller & L. Miller 888 (MO, NY); Cerro Jefe region, 10 mi. from Tocumen Circle, 800--1000 m, Gentry 2894 (F, MO); 10 mi. from highway, Croat 15188 (MO); Km 10.1, 300 m, 9E20'N, 79EW, Croat & Zhu 76548 (MO); near summit, 750--800 m, 9E14'N, 79E22'W, Croat 67095 (MO); Witherspoon & Witherspoon 8551 (MO); 770 m, 9E15'N, 79E29'W, Croat & Zhu 76613 (MO, PMA, US); El Llano--Cartí Road, Km 5-6, 350--375 m, Croat 34800A (MO); 7 mi. from highway, 460 m, 9E19'N, 79E59'W, Croat 75107 (MO, PMA); ca. 8 km N of turnoff, 300 m, 9E16'N, 78E57'W, Churchill 3810 (MO, RSA); 5 km N of highway, 300 m, Nee 7915 (GH, MO); along trail to Cerro Brewster from Río Pacora Valley, 670 m, 9E20'N, 79E15'W, McPherson 7503 (MO). San Blas: El Llano--Cartí Road, 34--38 km from Pan-American Highway, 100--200 m, 9E25'N, 79EW, Knapp & Schmalzel 5467 (MO); km 26.5, 200 m, 9E19'N, 78E55'W, de Nevers et al. 7839 (GH, MO, US); NW of Nusagandi on Sendero Wedar, 150--200 m, 9E15'N, 79EW, McPherson 11049 (MO). Veraguas: Boca de Concepción, in Golfo de los Mosquitos, 10 m, 8E50'N, 81EW, McPherson 11380 (CM, M, MBM, MO).