Cutleaf Philodendron

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(Philodendron spp.)
Hurricane Plant, Swiss Cheese Plant, Ceriman, Mexican Breadfruit, Majesty,
Split-leaf Philodendron, Window Leaf Plant


Cutleaf-Philodendron-Flower Cutleaf Philodendron Flower

Compared to other genera of the family Araceae, philodendrons have an extremely diverse array of growth methods. The habits of growth can be epiphytic,hemiepiphytic, or rarely terrestrially. Others can show a combination of these growth habits depending on the environment. Hemiepiphytic philodendrons can be classified into two types: primary and secondary hemiepiphytes. A primary hemiepiphytic philodendron starts life high up in the canopy where the seed initially sprouts. The plant then grows as an epiphyte. Once it has reached a sufficient size and age, it will begin producing aerial roots that grow toward the forest floor. Once they reach the forest floor, nutrients can be obtained directly from the soil. In this manner, the plant’s strategy is to obtain light early in its life at the expense of nutrients. Some primary epiphytic species have a symbiotic relationship with ants. In these species, the ants’ nest is grown amongst the plant’s roots, which help keep the nest together. Philodendrons have extrafloral nectaries, glands that secrete nectar to attract the ants. The philodendron, in turn, obtains nutrients from the surrounding ant nest, and the aggressive nature of the ants serves to protect the plant from other insects which would eat it.

Secondary hemiepiphytes start life on the ground or on part of a tree trunk very close to the ground, where the seeds sprout. These philodendrons have their roots in the ground early in their lives. They then begin climbing up a tree and eventually may become completely epithytic, doing away with their subterranean roots. Secondary hemiepiphytes do not always start their lives close to a tree. For these philodendrons, the plant will grow with long internodes along the ground until a tree is found. They find a suitable tree by growing towards darker areas, such as the dark shadow of a tree. This trait is called scototropism. After a tree has been found, the scototropic behavior stops and the philodendron switches to a phototropic growth habit and the internodes shorten and thicken. Usually, however, philodendrons germinate on trees.

Cutleaf-Philodendron Cutleaf Philodendron Leaves
The leaves are usually large and imposing, often lobed or deeply cut, and may be more or less pinnate. They can also be oval, spear-shaped, or in many other possible shape variations. The leaves are borne alternately on the stem. An interesting quality of philodendrons is that they do not have a single type of leaf on the same plant. Instead, they have juvenile leaves and adult leaves, which can be drastically different from one another. The leaves of seedling philodendrons are usually heart-shaped. Early in the life of the plant, but after it has matured past the seedling stage, the leaves will have acquired the typical juvenile leaf’s shape and size. Later in the philodendron’s life, it starts producing adult leaves, a process called metamorphosis. Most philodendrons go through metamorphosis gradually; there is no immediately distinct difference between juvenile and adult leaves. Aside from being typically much bigger than the juvenile leaves, the shape of adult leaves can be significantly different.
Philodendron species can be found in many diverse habitats in the tropical Americas and the West Indies. Most occur in humid tropical forests, but can also be found in swamps and on river banks, roadsides and rock outcrops. They are also found throughout the diverse range of elevations from sea level to over 2000 m above sea level. Species of this genus are often found clambering over other plants, or climbing the trunks of trees with the aid of aerial roots. Philodendrons usually distinguish themselves in their environment by their large numbers compared to other plants, making them a highly noticeable component of the ecosystems in which they are found. They are found in great numbers in road clearings.

Philodendrons can also be found in Australia, some Pacific islands, Africa and Asia, although they are not indigenous and were introduced or accidentally escaped.
Toxic Principle:
Insoluble calcium oxalates
Poisoning Symptoms include:
Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.



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