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Common Name: Philodendron grandipes
Latin Name: Philodendron grandipes
Family:
Araceae, contains monocotyledonous flowering plants. Flowers bloom on a spadix, a type of inflorescence, and partially enclosed by a bract (modified leaf that looks like a petal). This family contains 107 genera and over 3700 species.

Range:
Its distribution ranges from Nicaragua to Ecuador. Grows in swampy lowlands from sea level up to 750 m elevation.

Abundance:
They can be found in large numbers in a single area, which is quite unusual considering most tropical plants of the same species do no grow in groups.


Coloration:
Petioles (connecting the leaf to the stem) are pale to medium green to reddish at the base. The upper surface leaves aredark green, semi glossy to glossy, sometimes matte or subvelvety. The lower surface leaves are semi glossy, moderately paler, drying brown to greenish brown. Immature flowers are greenish-white and once matured they are a yellowish-white.


Morphology:
The leaves are waxy coated and are heart-shaped. The petioles are 25.5-73 cm long, 10-12 mm in diameter, and D-shaped. The leaf blades are 20-50 cm long and 15.5-36 cm wide. Juvenile and adult leaves have different shapes from one another. Juvenile blades narrowly elliptic to ovate, acute to weakly cordate at base. Depending on the stage of growth juvenile leaves will grow because of lower light levels or low nutrition. Modified leaves, called cataphylls surround newly growing leaves for protection. Deciduous cataphylls curl off once the leaf is fully formed.


Growth:
This species of Philodendron only grows terrestrially. Most Philodendron species grow as primary or secondary hemiepiphytes.


Reproductive cycle:
When the philodendron is ready to reproduce, it grows a spadix(6.6--11.8 cm long), which is an inflorescence that is enclosed by a leaf-like hood called the spathe (6.6--11.8 cm long). A beetle of a specific species is needed to pollinate the philodendron, although, that same beetle most likely can pollinate plants outside the family of the philodendron. Philodendrons have few physical barriers to prevent hybridization, although, very few exist in nature. This could be because of geographic location, times of flowering, and/or specificity of beetle species as pollinators. The fruit it produces is a berry that attracts only bats and monkeys.


Personal Experience:
Before seeing this species at the La Selva, I did not know that it completes its life cycle entirely in the terrestrial environment. Most philodendron species are either primary or secondary hemiepiphytes. A primary hemiepiphyte starts its life up in a canopy of a tree and when ready it sends down aerial roots to the forest floor to obtain nutrition and a secondary hemiepiphyte begins its life on the forest floor with its roots in the soil then grows up a tree trunk to become completely epiphytic. I only found this species in one location and it was only one large individual. It also did not have any sign of a spadix or growth of one. The picture I took contains the entire plant.










References


Philodendron grandipes K. Krause in Engl. & K. Krause, : http://www.aroid.org/genera/philodendron/Philodendron/Philodendron/Fibricataphylla/grandipes.php#a

Encyclopedia of Plants, Philodendron: http://www.botany.com/philodendron.html