Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Philodendron bipinnatifidum

Now this is an Aroid I've been dying to grow myself since I moved to Florida. Cold hardy to zone 9 and commonly sold in every store with a garden center down here as Philodendron selloum for $10, I needed one.

Philodendron bipinnatifidum and Philodendron selloum were once considered two separate species, but more recent studies on the sexual characteristics of these Philodendron suggest that both are different forms of the same species. The name Philodendron bipinnatifidum was the first name to be published, so it is considered the correct scientific name, because that's the rules on how naming plants works. First is the winner. Seems fair enough.

As the older leaves die back with age along the growing stems, they leave large scars that looks like eyes.

They can get large, like up to 15 feet large on their own. The stems, with the assistance of those fat aerial roots, can hold them up for a time until they get too heavy, but they can and will climb nearby trees and fences if they can, growing much taller.

The inflorescence is pretty cool too, even if you'd need a magnifying glass to see the actual flowers. It's the only flower known to control it's own temperature. The inflorescence stays at 114 °F (45.5 °C) for the few days it's open. The male flowers metabolize fat to maintain the constant heat regardless of air temperatures. The heat helps to vaporize the chemicals that make up the flower's scent in order to make sure the odor reaches it's beetle pollinators. Now I regret not trying to touch it the last time I saw on one of these flowering.

This little guy below is now mine. It'll go in the ground the next sunny day I have time to dig and clear out the weeds that have grown in the sand over the winter. Grow tall little Philodendron, can't wait until you're a total monster!

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