Rhaphidophora aurea: Scindapsus, Ivy Arum

The plant is one of the most widely-grown climbers, the yellow-mottled or white-mottled forms being the ones generally used for room decora-tion.

The history of this species reads almost like a de-tective story (as is the case with many other plants). It is better known to the public under the name scindapsus. It was Engler who assigned, or rather reassigned it to this genus, for the plant had already been described as Pothos aureus. It was not until a few years ago in Florida, when a specimen grown there produced flowers, that the botanist Birdsey found it to have the same characteristics as those of the genus Rhaphidophora. However, this plant can still be bought at the florist’s or at garden centres under the old name of scindapsus.

Specimens grown in the tropics differ markedly from those grown in modern homes. Their leaves are often up to 40 cm (16 in) long and the blade is incised much the same as a monstera. Specimens climbing to the tops of trees that are several tens of metres (more than seventy feet) high are quite common.

Other species of this genus are also very beautiful, particularly the widely-grown R. decursiva, whose range of distribution extends from India through northern Burma to northern Vietnam. There it is often encountered in mountain forests at elevations of approximately 1,200 m (3,940 ft) rising from the thick, dark undergrowth and climbing the trunks of trees. Most specimens growing there in their native habitat are smaller than those found in botanical gardens, perhaps because conditions are cooler and thus growth is not as vigorous. The leaves of this species are regularly and deeply incised almost to the midrib; the blade is about 70 cm (28 in) long and 40 cm (16 in) wide.

Both the species mentioned are readily grown in warm homes, where they should be put in a spot that is well-lit but slightly shaded against the sun. They are easily propagated by stem cuttings which will readily form roots even in water. Cultivation is the same as for the genus Monstera.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rhaphidophora aurea: Scindapsus, Ivy Arum


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