Philodendron bipinnatifidum

This particular plant has helped spur much discussion on the UBC Botanical Garden forums on whether infrared wavelengths can attract pollinators. ChrisR, of Gloucester, UK, originally posted it as Heat-producing Philodendron flower. Subsequently, Chris also did this timelapse animation and later it submitted to the BPotD Submission Forum. I highly recommend viewing the timelapse animation — I originally intended to post it as part of this entry, but I’ve held back because the image movement can be a distraction while reading the entry or studying today’s photograph. Do also read the original thread and participate there if you’d like to join that discussion.

Philodendron is a large tropical genus, consisting of approximately a thousand species (with more to be discovered). It is native to tropical areas of the New World; most species are lianas, or woody-stemmed climbing species. Philodendron bipinnatifium, or tree philodendron, is an exception as it grows into a small shrub. In warm temperate to tropical areas, it is cultivated as an ornamental (primarily for its foliage). It is also a relatively common houseplant in colder climes. Plants of Hawaii provides a series of photographs of the species growing in outdoor cultivation.

Other common names include cutleaf philodendron and, in Portuguese, banana-de-macaco, cipó-imbé and banana-de-imbê (for more common names in Brazil, see GRIN’s list: Philodendron bipinnatifidum).

Botany / education resource link: the Canadian Outreach Guide to Plant Biodiversity Education is a recently-launched web site that provides a central clearinghouse of plant education resources. Though geared toward Canadian curricula, the database of outreach activities and links to other resources should be useful to educators from around the world.

Philodendron bipinnatifidum

10 responses to “Philodendron bipinnatifidum”

  1. Beverley

    Philodendron bipinnatifidum – minimum 15 degrees C/59 degrees F – A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk
    Philodendron fi-lo-den-dron From Gk. phileo [to love] and dendron [a tree] referring to their tree-climbing habit. bipinnatifidum bi-pi-nah-ti-fi-dum Bipinnately divided [the leaves]. Dictionary of Plant Names, Coombes

  2. Eric Simpson

    We had one of these wonderful critters (or a closely related species; we called it a “giant” Philodendron) in our front yard here in north coastal San Diego County when I was a kid. I’m not sure it’s the same species because the specimens in the Plants of Hawaii pics appear to have skinnier trunks and more deeply and finely divided leaves, but that may be due to diff’s in individual plants &/or growing conditions. Believe it or not, our plant survived both frosts and snow (late 60’s) completely unscathed. We finally had to remove it after it simultaneously outgrew the space we had it in (an area of approx. 200 sq. ft.) and tried to push its roots up through the floor of our kitchen.
    For a kid, this was a great plant as one could clamber over/under/through the tangle of trunks and adventitious roots, and the sheaths (fresh, not withered) that protect the young leaves made great – though somewhat limp – “swords”, while the huge leaves made great “shields”.

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    this plant just grows ever so large
    florida seems to grow the monster kind
    my i am spending real time on the links
    and amazed at what i see — the scanned
    pictures are of real interest and very
    good–i just have to print out a page
    of a plant of interest so i will not
    lose the link thank you daniel

  4. Eric Follis

    How poisonous is this plant? Is it safe to have this plant in a lobby area around small children and toddlers that are sometimes unsupervised while waiting for their parents?

  5. Jason Leary

    Beautiful plant . Plants are like unto the Creator’s Art .

  6. hjoan chiang

    My son, Simon sent this to me-I got REALLY excited because I have an indoor one that had two blooms last year;one right now. It’s truly incredible-we think it’s 15-20 years old in the same pot/spot. I don’t know how rare it is to flower indoors, no matter, just an amazing plant. After the white male like bloom it closes, wrapping it’s green arm around like a protective parent, then slowly looks like a corn by the time it drops off. Ours had a short two day flower-we took photos daily-I’d be glad to share.
    Again, what a treat, thanks.hjoan

  7. Alvin Evans

    I have had one of these wonderful plants since early 1969 when it was bought from Marks and Spencer (Ealing, London) as a gift for my new house. It endured bad care for years until a house move to mid Wales seven years ago. It, (‘Sid’ to his friends) now graces a lounge in a care home for the elderly, (on loan), as he has almost pushed me out of mine. I have no doubt he will be back.

  8. Tami Zirians

    I have one of these plants in my living room. It is beautiful but the leaves are large and heavy and they droop down. I have tried many different methods to keep them growing upward. Does anyone have a suggestion to keep the leaves from drooping?

  9. Jenny

    I’ve never seen this plant. Another amazing plant I recently discovered is the TickleMe Plant. (Mimosa pudica) It really does MOVE when Tickled
    If you wanted to share your love for nature with your children this is a great venue. This may change the way you and the kids react to plants for ever. Imagine giving your children some seeds. Having them watch them sprout and grow. Then shortly after the second leaves appear they tickle the plant and it moves its branches down and closes its leaves! Give them more than a gift; give them a learning experience they will never forget. I found information and my growing kits at http;//

  10. Melanie

    I too have had this beautiful phil as a houseplant for many years, however, this year I’m having some trouble. Phil has gotten dry brown spots on some leaves and the new spaths have dried out at the top. I fear I have watered Phil too much. Should I continue to mist and not water? Stop misting and only water. Stop misting and watering? Whadayathink?

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