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Does anyone grow the real Anthurium hookeri?

  • Subject: Does anyone grow the real Anthurium hookeri?
  • From: ExoticRainforest <Steve@ExoticRainforest.com>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2010 19:21:08 -0500

I have been seeking a specimen of the real Anthurium hookeri for years!  Before you immediately respond and say yes, please look at the photos and read the descriptions in this thread.  The majority of plants sold in Florida are not the true species known to science as Anthurium hookeri. but instead a plant using the name as a common name. This plant appears to be far rarer than many of us believe.  It is found largely in the windward islands of the Caribbean but also in French Guiana and other countries including Venezuela.  I've talked several times to Joep Moonen in French Guiana about it and he sees it rarely.


Few people appear to be able to give a good reason why almost everyone in Florida thinks they are growing Anthurium hookeri in their yard when they are not. Well known IAS member and commercial aroid grower Denis Rotolante in Homestead offered the best reason I have been able to find, "As many nurserymen down here know, Anthurium hookeri is a catch all name applied to all bird nest type Anthuriums regardless of true taxonomic origins."   Many of those hybrid plants sold in Florida appear to be more closely related to Anthurium schlechtendalii or Anthurium plowmanii than to Anthurium hookeri


If you believe you are growing Anthurium hookeri and your plant matches the photos and information in this thread I know for certain there are other growers that want to find it, including me!


The first two photo shows a specimen of the true Anthurium hookeri photographed at the Missouri botanical Garden.  Look closely at the leaves and veins.




One of the most distinctive characteristics of the true Anthurium hookeri is it does not produce red berries as is commonly believed on the internet and many plant forums. The berries of the true species are white. 

Virtually all the information on the Internet stating the berries are red is inaccurate. I even found one noted garden showing a photo of an infructescence with red berries.  The plant referred to in all the garden site posts appears to be one of the common plants sold in Florida using the name only as a common name and not referring to the true species..


The next distinctive characteristic of Anthurium hookeri is the interprimary veins are evenly spaced similar to the rungs of a ladder.  In science this even spacing is known as the venation being scalariforme.

Another important  characteristic is a newly emerging leaf unfurls in a way that is not seen in other bird’s nest Anthurium species.  The unusual way the new leaves of Anthurium hookeri are rolled is known as being supervolute vernation and are very unusual in most species.  That term indicates the new leaves possess coils or folds in overlapping whorls.  Vernation refers to the arrangement of young leaf blades and supervolute vernation is to possess a convolute arrangement in the folding or arrangement of a newly emerging leaf blade with one margin (edge) of the newly blade emerging rolled inward toward the midrib and the opposite margin rolled around the midrib o the opposite leaf f in a manner similar to the coil at the end of a conch shell. 

All bird’s nest Anthurium, at least those that are members of Anthurium section Pachyneurium,  produce convolute new leaves.  The only difference in supervolute and convolute vernation is convolute vernation occurs when several leaves spiral with the next leaf in a module enclosed within the current leaf. I realize this is difficult to understand but look at the leaf in the photo as well as the diagram below.  Look closely at the diagram of convolute vernation and you will see the second leaf inside the first leaf which is common to the way bird's nest forms unfurl.  Anthurium hookeri is the only exception according to Dr. Croat.  Tom once indicated he felt Anthurium hookeri could be in section Porphyrochitonium.


Another very important characteristic is the real Anthurium hookeri has tiny black dots, especially on the underside of the leaves. In science these little black dots are known as glandular punctates.


If you have real species of Anthurium hookeri please post photos and if you know where specimens of your plant can be found please post that as well.

There are several other unique characteristics found only on Anthurium hookeri and not on the hybrid or miss named plants commonly sold in Florida. If you want to learn more the information can be read here:  http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Anthurium%20hookeri%20pc.html

The scientific description of Anthurium hookeri is very simple; so for anyone that may doubt the accuracy of what I am trying to explain please take a few seconds to read the actual description.

A. hookeri Kunth, Enum.  pl. 3:74.  1841.  Type: Schott Drawing 517 serves as the lectotype (designated by Mayo, 1982)

Epiphyte.  Internodes short densely rooted; cataphylls lanceolate, 20-26 cm long, dilacerating from base.  VERNATION- supervolute; Leaves rosulate; petioles triangular to D-shaped, 2-9 cm long, 1.5-1.7 cm wide; blades oblanceolate, broadest above middle, margins smooth, black glandular punctates on both surfaces, 35-89 cm long, 10-26 cm wide.  Primary lateral veins 9-15 per side, free to the margin, tertiary veins extending in a more or less parallel, ladder-like fashion between the primary lateral veins (scalariform).  peduncle to 47 cm long, to 5 mm dam.; spathe pale green, tinged purple, oblong, to 9 cm long, to 1.5 cm wide; spadix violet-purple, cylindroid-tapered, to 10-16 cm long, to 5-7 mm diam,; Infructescence- berries, obovoid, whitish, to 6 mm long, to 4.5 mm wide. 

I really want to find this plant so thanks very much for any help!














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