Dear Tom and Friends,
It would seem that the question of the I.D. of the 'spider' or
'fern leaf' Philodendron had been solved, but the note from Eduardo in Brazil
raises ONE more question, as he reports the P. distantilobum
also has a claw-like prophyll, but is said to have less and wider
leaf divisions that P. tortum. My question is if there may
be a better way to distinguish these two ( ? ) species, perhaps by sexual
features of the spadix?? I will go and take another look at
the plants in Mr. Merkel`s collection, as you may recall he claimed that he
had TWO species which he called P. distantilobum and
P.pinnatifidium, but at the time I examined them I could see no differences,
and I thought them both to be P. tortum. I will try to collect a
couple of inflorescences if both plants are in bloom.
I will add a couple comments here from friends that may assist
the readers in their I.D.`s of their plants.
From Jim Langhammer---
a) "the 'claw' is in fact the prophyll that encases the
NEXT leaf and later dehisces.
b) "On a mature plant of P. tortum, there is literally
NO internode--one leaf base overlaps the next if 'top and bottom lines' are
envisioned on opposing sides of the stem." (They are in fact very
compact, beatiful plants!!)
From Dr. Tom Croat of MOBOT---
a) " The type of Engler`s P. angustisectum (which we have
here) is actually P. radiatum, so far as I can tell."
b) Philodendron tortum USED to be called P.
angustisectum. It also used to be refered to as 'fern leaf'
c) Dr. Croat has collected P. tortum in Acre, Brazil,
and has also observed it in Amazonas State
From Eduardo Goncalves in Brazil---
a) Eduardo has collected P. tortum from the Manaus
area to N. W. Brazil. It is commonly collected in Acre State as
well as in the extreme N. W. Amazonas State near Tabatinga, and so is probably
also in E. Peru and E. Colombia, and can be recognised by the finely divided
leaf segments and hooked, curved prophyll.
b)True P. pinnatifidium has a very short stem and the petioles
are usually purple-speckled. It may be rare in
c) Eduardo reports that he has collected true P.
distantilobum in Acre and N. Reodonia States in Brazil, and that this
species also has hooked prophylls. [Eduardo, do you (or anyone
else) know of a way to seperate P. tortum from P. distantilobum
besides the width and number of the leaf segments, presumably only in
d) Eduardo has not seen a plant that could be refered to
P. angustisectum (probably because as Tom reports that the type of this
'species' can probably be refered to P. radiatum.) Eduardo reports
that the peduncles of P. tortum and P. distantilobum are
longer than the spathe, while the peduncles of P. angustisectum (=P. radiatum)
are shorter than the spathe, and there are no signs of the claw-like
I hope that the above proves helpful to fellow
aroidophyles! I look forward to further information on P.
distantilobum vs. P. tortum.