Pothos scandens

The name pothos is often encountered in the greenhouses of botanical gardens but rarely does the plant in question truly belong to the genus Pothos. For instance, the most widely grown ‘representative of the genus’ – Pothos celatocaulis – belongs in fact to the genus Rhaphidophora, and this is only one example. The genus includes only climbing plants with leaves distinctly composed of a blade and leaf stalk, the latter being wing-like. The inflorescence is relatively small, a spadix enclosed by a spathe; the flowers are hermaphroditic.

Some 50 species growing in tropical Asia, mostly Malaysia, have been described to date. They are generally found climbing over the trunks of trees and stones, often in relatively deep shade. They require a very moist environment and so are found mainly beside streams and waterfalls where they are continually sprayed with water.

The base of the plant often rots, leaving only the stem which grows as an epiphyte attached to the growing compost by short clinging roots; this seems to be the rule rather than the exception, supported by the experience of gardeners in botanical gardens.

The species, native to India, Pakistan and Malaysia, is often found in botanical gardens. The entire leaf is about 12 cm (4-¾ in) long and its division into a winged stalk and flat blade is clearly evident in the picture.

Pothos should be grown as an epiphyte, primarily in a plant-case on a trunk on bare bark. Each section of the stem with at least two pairs of leaves will readily give rise to a new plant if detached and grown separately.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pothos scandens


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