OF THE GENUS
first species of Syngonium was described by Linnaeus as
Arum auritum in his second edition of Species Plantarum in 1763.
Other species of Syngonium were described by early botanical
workers in the genera Caladium and Xanthosoma. The
latter two genera, both neotropical in distribution, are members
of the subfamily Colocasioideae but are now circumscribed as terrestrial,
basically acaulescent genera with entire or pedatisect leaves.The
genus Arum, in the subfamily Aroideae, as now circumscribed, is
restricted to Europe and the Mediterranean region.
The name Syngonium was first used by Schott in 1829. By the time
Schott published his Synopsis Aroidearum in 1856 there were 11 described
species, the bulk of them having been described in that work. However,
of those 11 species, 1 recognize only 1 in this revision, namely,
S. auritum (most of the
species having been synonymized with the widespread S.
podophyllum). Schott's (1860) Prodromus Systematis Aroidearum
dealt with 20 taxa, of which only S.
schottianum, S. hoffmannii,
S. wendlandii, S.
podophyllum var. peliocladum, S.
neglectum, and S. angustatum
are recognized by me. These new species were based on collections
of H. Wendland, C. Hoffmann, F. M. Liebmann and A. S. Oersted in
Mexico and Central America during the 1840s and 1850s.
The last revision of Syngonium was that by Engler & Krause
(1920) published in Das Pflanzenreich. In that treatment two additional
species were added (as now recognized) namely S.
hastifolium and S.
macrophyllum. The remainder of the species published on
or before this revision by Engler have been either placed into synonymy
or transferred to other genera.
The most important recent work with Syngonium was that by
Birdsey (1955) who completed a detailed morphological review of
the Central American and West Indian (in part) species for his doctoral
thesis. Although this work was never published, the thorough anatomical
studies remain an important contribution. In Birdsey's work a number
of new species were described. Two of these species were subsequently
described by Bunting (1966) and an additional one, S.
triphyllum, is described in this paper. Bunting described
a total of 6 recognized species during his work in Central America
and in Venezuela. A single Syngonium described by E. Matuda
is also recognized.
Most of the new species described in this work are relatively rare
species collected in the past decade but a few rare species, such
as S. steyermarkii
and S. laterinervium,
were collected as long as 30 years ago but not recognized.