Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

Split-leaf Philodendron, PHILODENDRON RADIATUM

from the January 17,  2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO
SPLIT-LEAF PHILODENDRON

With its yard-long (1 m), broad, glossy, deeply cut leaves and high-climbing habits, a spectacular vine we have here is the 20-ft one shown above. It's often called the Split-leaf Philodendron, a name shared with other species. It's PHILODENDRON RADIATUM, an "aroid," or member of the Arum Family, the Araceae, found from southern Mexico throughout Central America and probably into northern South America. In behavior and general presentation it's a lot like the Pothos we looked at not long ago, still profiled at http://www.backyardnataure.net/yucatan/pothos.htm.

However, the Pothos's leaves split only with age or mistreatment, while this one's leaves are deeply dissected from the beginning.

Here our vines are trying to fruit, as you can see below:

Split-leaf Philodendron, PHILODENDRON RADIATUM, flowering heads

Those are flowering heads, which among the aroids consists of a modified leaf called a spathe partly or entirely enclosing a fingerlike spadix covered with tiny, simple, very closely packed flowers. In the picture we see nothing but spathes. I found many such spathes but none were open. When I forced one open to see what was inside, I found what's shown below:

Split-leaf Philodendron, PHILODENDRON RADIATUM, aborting flowers

That shows a spadix apparently rotting instead of developing into a fruit. It looks like our flower heads are aborting before they can do anything. Maybe it's because in this area we don't have the right pollinators.


from the December 27, 2015 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO
SPLIT-LEAF PHILODENDRON FLOWERING

Lately the Split-leaf Philodendron has been flowering, as shown below:

Split-leaf Philodendron, PHILODENDRON RADIATUM, flowering structure