Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter


from the April 4, 2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

For months I've been watching for flowers and fruits on a certain aroid vine fairly common out in the forest. By "aroid" I mean a member of the Aroid Family, the Araceae. Aroids bear tiny flowers close- packed on a fingerlike "spadix," which is surrounded and often overtopped by a leafy "spathe." Jack-in-the- pulpit, anthuriums, caladiums, elephants-ears, and philodendrons are all aroids.

In fact, the vine I've been watching turns out to be a philodendron. You can see it 20-ft high in a tree above.

*NOTE FROM 2015: Now that more information is available on the Internet I can see that this is known as PHILODENDRON JACQUINII, and I read that in the past that name was confused with P. hederaceum. The species is a not-too-common one found from about here and southern Mexico south through Central America to northern South America
I'm guessing that this is* PHILODENDRON HEDERACEUM, a wide-ranging, extremely variable species much grown indoors in pots up North. Note its large, heart-shaped leaves, its loopy, silvery, fairly succulent stems, and, at the lower left, the two fruiting bodies. Each fruiting body bears a deep gash in its upper, left side caused by an animal. The actual fruits are like kernels on a corncob with the green spathe wrapped around it. It's normal for philodendron fruits to be fragrant when ripe so maybe a bird or fruit bat was attracted to the fruiting bodies by the fruits' odor and bit through the spathes to get at the ripe fruits inside.

I couldn't get at a fruiting body for a close-up without pulling down the whole vine, so I didn't.