Identification: Arrow-shaped Unknown

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by abies, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. abies

    abies Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    Can anyone help me identify this adopted houseplant? Large arrow-shaped leaves with dark green foliage, accented with deep pink at the shoot and on the central vein underneath leaf. Should I be concerned about toxicity around my toddler and dog? Couldn't find it anywhere on the 'net. Thanks for your help!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. chirita

    chirita Active Member

    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    british columbia canada
    Your plant looks like a type of Philodendron. If you search the net under "toxicity of house plants" you should be able to find out about the toxicity of this group of plants.
     
  3. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    I just had to comment on this one! If you look up the supposed toxicity of this group of plants on a good scientific source, other than a pet site or one devoted to protecting children from being poisoned by everything you'll find these plants contain a very low danger!

    The chemical in question is oxalate crystals. True, they taste bad. True, they will burn your mouth. True, they are best not eaten. True, they can cause swelling. False, they are a "deadly" poison! It is is not so. And this has been researched by scientific sources and the claim you can find on likely 100 or more websites is just not factual. What happens is, someone says it, the next person believes it, it is published as fact, and suddenly it is pseudo-scientific! You would have to eat a very large quantity to do harm. And you can do harm to your body by eating large quantities of many otherwise harmless substances.

    In fact, many plants contain oxalate crystals! Polynesians eat it all the time! This chemical compound is a staple in many Polynesian dishes! One of the favorite foods at a Hawaiian feast is pork or chicken wrapped in the leaves of Colocasia esculenta, the Black Taro. This substance has been scientifically proven not to be broken down by cooking. Heat does not destroy the oxalate crystals! I'd be willing to bet if you have been to Hawaii or Polynesia you've eaten the stuff and never knew what you ate! And if cooked correctly, you didn't even taste the bitter taste.

    Spinach is very high in the substance. Have you heard of anyone dropping dead lately from eating spinach (other than the recent poison spinach scare, which was totally different)? The same people who claim this stuff will kill you eat raw spinach on their salads! Do you know vegetarians often have more trouble with kidney stones than non-vegetarians? Know why? They eat a lot of oxalate crystals and as a result build up the crystals in their urinary system. The compound is in a very large number of plants we eat every day!

    But a "deadly" poison? It just is not scientifically factual! Here's a link which will explain more and lead you to some scientific sources: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Calcium oxalate crystals.html

    It is highly likely that if chewed you will feel as though you just took a mouth full of tiny glass needles. It is certainly not likely anyone is going to continue eating enough of the plant to produce the clamied "deadly" poison. Please, let's all stop this ridiculous scare! I own hundreds and hundreds of philodendrons, anthuriums, alocasias, colocasias and other species. My dog sometimes chews on them and spits them out! Animals in the rain forest chew on them all the time! And I'm sure some of them don't like what they just took a bite from! I've tried it and didn't particularly like it. And I also eat the fruit of our Monstera deliciosa each year! Look that up. Those sites claim that too is a "deadly poison". Those fruit are delicious. Where do you think it got the name "deliciosa"? It tastes like pineapple!

    Now, listen, I did not say it was OK for your kids, rabbits, dogs and cats to eat your philodendrons. They certainly won't like the taste and in a few cases they might have a bad reaction! But the plants just are not that poisonous! It just is not so!! You should not believe everything you read on the internet, even this! So look it up IN A SCIENTIFIC SOURCE BOOK!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Oh yea. The plant above certainly appears to be a philodendron. What species? Too hard to tell from the photo. But it IS NOT "deadly" poisonous!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,904
    Likes Received:
    229
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Sorry Steve, not true that they are not poisonous. Oxalic acid is poisonous. From wikipedia:
    Of course the oxalic acid content in Philodendrons is not very high (though higher than spinach), so you'd have to eat an awful lot to suffer serious poisoning. Which is unlikely to happen because the taste is nasty, but not impossible.
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Are you aware how Wikipedia is composed? People write what they believe. It is neither scientifically accurate or verified. Please check the sources I list in my article. Those include botanical and medical sources. And if this stuff is the "deadly" poison internet sources claim then someone certainly ought to force the people who put on Hawaiian feasts for tourists to put up a warning sign! They eat it, and feed it to their guests, all the time. If as bad as many sites claim there ought to be a warning at the airport telling you the food you will be eating contains a "poison". By the way, spinach is number 6 on a U.S. government list of vegetables commonly eaten that contain high levels of oxalate crystals.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  7. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
  8. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    The key word in your quote is "large doses". You cannot get a "large dose" by taking a bite of a philodendron. You'd have to eat it over a long period of time. Again, please check a scientific source, not a source written by non-scientists.
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    It does somewhat resemble P. Burle Marx. However, that plant is not a species but instead a hybrid created by Roberto Burle Marx in Brazil. I have a good friend who worked for Roberto and I'll ask him to comment. The plant in the photo is obviously a vining species and does not look like the P. Burle Marx in my collection. To get a true identify on a leaf of such common shape you would need to know 1) Blade size, 2) vein count, 3) growth pattern, and 4) preferably have a photo of the spathe and spadix. If it is a hybrid then even that information is going to be of no help. There are an enormous number of known species and who knows how many hybrid varieties. An ID from a single photo is little more than a good guess.
     
  10. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Since some are going to keep checking the non-scientific sites (and there are many that claim philodendrons are poisonous) I feel it approriate to include this quote from eFloras.org. This is a direct quote from that scientific site: So you can better understand the discussion, "araceae" is the group of plants that contains most of the plants often condemned as "poisonous" such as philodendrons and anthuriums. The www.eFloras.org site says: "Araceae contain crystals of calcium oxalate, which are often cited as causing the intense irritation experienced when handling or consuming the raw plant tissue of many genera in the family. This supposition is contradicted by the fact that although irritation generally is not produced by properly cooked plants, the crystals remain after heating. Other compounds must therefore be involved with causing this reaction. Studies of Dieffenbachia demonstrated that a proteolytic enzyme, as well as other compounds, are responsible for the severe irritation caused by this plant and that raphides of calcium oxalate do not play a major role (J. Arditti and E. Rodriguez 1982). Whether irritation is caused by enzymes or crystals, that aspect of Araceae has resulted in aroid genera being included in many lists of poisonous plants (e.g., K. F. Lampe and M. A. McCann 1985; G. A. Mulligan and D. B. Munro 1990; K. D. Perkins and W. W. Payne 1978)."

    And, just in case you're a vegetarian, you might want to do some homework on eating your "veggies". Those too may contain a much higher concentration of oxalate crystals than you expect. Dr. James W. Waddick of Kansas City, MO. recently provided this link which I found of great interest: http://www.vegsource.com/articles/harris_kidney_stones.htm

    Seems you can get just as much of the stuff from your veggies as the "poisonous" philodendron!
     
  11. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thunder Bay
    it is an arrowhead vine.. type that in to google and youll find everything you need.
     
  12. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
    Leaves are a bit too large and, more importantly, waxy. The common "arrowhead vine" generally have a smaller, more delicate leaf, will not reflect light like in the photos above. I could be wrong...
     
  13. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Arrowhead vine is a common name for a variety of Syngonium species. Most Syngonium in cultivation are hybrids rather than species. Although Syngonium is related to philodendron they are not one and the same. This one has all the general appearance of a philodendron. The leaf appears to be coriacious (leathery) while Syngonium species are generally quite thin. Many philodendrons also vine and climb trees. The great majority are epiphytes (tree dwellers). If the original poster can take a good photo of a single leaf, both top and bottom, and make sure to show how and where the peitiole (vine) joins the leaf blade we'd have a better chance of getting an ID. However, it strongly appears to be a hybrid variety at first glance. And if so, without a DNA test we'd likely never figure out what the parent species were. Even with DNA, the majority of philodendron species have yet to be genetically traced. This one also appears to be somewhat variable. Look at the differences in the blade shapes. Look at the shape of the sinus. Some of the sinus areas (area between the lobes) are wide, others quite narrow. I've asked three philodendron experts to take a look. Perhaps one of them will be fortunate enough to recognize something I don't see.
     
  14. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

    It also seems to resemble P. hastatum, a more commonly cultivated variety, don't you think?
     
  15. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    You just happened to pick one on which I've done a ton of research. Philodendron hastatum K. Koch and Sello is from Brazil. That species is also variable but the ones most commonly grown in this country have a blue green leaf blade. There is a variation with a green blade which is sometimes known as Philodendron elongatum Bunting. P. elongatum is nothing more than a synonym of P. hastatum, simply a variation.

    Here's the problem. P. hastatum is not a vine. It is a self heading species. This plant is definitely a vine.

    By the way, a LOT of people on the internet claim P. hastatum is now known as Philodendron domesticum. That is another internet myth. P. hastatum was identified in the mid 1800's while P. domesticum was identified in the 1960's. It would be a major violation of botancial rules to allow a name change to a plant identified 150 plus years later.

    The explanation? George Bunting Identified P. domesticum. If you closely read his scientific description you will find he was giving a scientific name to a plant that was likely created by horticulturists. It is very likely nothing more than a hybrid! No one is certain why Bunting did this but several noted botanists have questioned it being done. In the 1960's there was a plant with the common name philodendron hastatum, a common name. That plant WAS NOT and IS NOT the plant known to science as Philodendron hastatum. They are very different. Bunting clearly states in his description he is simply giving the plant with that common name a scientific name. But for reasons not fully understood the U.S. government and dozens of websites, as well as at least one book, have stated the plant scientifically named Philodendron hastaum has had a name change.

    I spent a great deal of time speaking with Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden about this issue. Dr Croat is recognized as the top botanist in the United states in the field of aroids (philodendrons are aroids). Dr. Croat assures me that science still considers the Brazilian species Philodendron hastatum. No name change has been made! No one can tell you where Philodendron domesticum originated! There is not a trace of evidence to support it is a wild species. One source claims it is from the Guiana Shield but I have personally spoken with the top naturalist in French Guiana and he assures me Philodendron domesticum did not originate in that region of South America. Here's a link if you want to read more: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Philodendron hastatum pc.html
     
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    According to philodendron collector and expert Russ Hammer from Central Florida this plant is an old hybrid known as Philodendron 'Red Emerald'. Russ has one of the largest collections of philodendrons in the United States. I've asked Russ to log on here and comment.
     
  17. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
    I'm a research person myself, however, in a totally different field. A little obvious by now (laughing). At any rate, why does one research Philodendron species? New compounds for medicine? Creating commercial hybrids? I find your knowledge quite interesting and am happy to see someone such as yourself on the forum.

    Mark
     
  18. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thunder Bay
    no this is not a philidendron..... this is an arrowhead vine... i have one thats really old.. and the leaves are twice that size then the one in the pic.. the older t is the bigger and more divided the leaves get. there is is a philidendron that looks liek that but. the leaves start to break up into 3s. or 4, or 6 sometimes in the wild.
     
  19. smivies

    smivies Active Member

    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    Plants containing Oxalates are by definition toxic, but an adult, cat, or child would have to have great resolve to eat enough to compromise a lethal dose. The calcium oxalate has a very unpleasant/painful effect on the soft tissue of the mouth and throat and one bite should be enough to teach a really good lesson.

    Simon
     
  20. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    I do not wish to argue with anyone. This forum was not intended to be a scientific forum, this is a site where people discuss what they grow and/or look for more information.

    People have read this claim and believed this for a long time. Obviously, when someone tries to explain these situations, beliefs are not easily given up. You are certainly welcome to not grow philodendrons or anthuriums as you please if you believe they are dangerous. I certainly did not recommend you eat these plants. I did try to explain why the information commonly believed is without merit. My research has been discussed with some of the best known botanists in the country as well as medical doctors. I quoted those sources.

    If the substance is poison then a ton of people are on their way to an early demise since it is in many of the foods you eat all the time. Again, spinach is #6 on the list of foods high in the substance. I guarantee, people who love spinach in their salads are not going to give it up when they find out it too has the substance. Every wonder why some people don't like the taste of spinach? You guessed it!

    But, you make up your own mind. I'm just surprised folks will continue to refuse to read the scientific texts in favor of things they find on the internet. Unfortunately that is the nature of our society. People no longer wish to visit a library or buy a good scientific source book. Just look it up on the internet.

    Now, as to why I research philodendrons? I have collected rare species for many years. I have been to and photographed rain forests in many South American countries as well as SE Asia and the Caribbean. If you choose to read the article, you'll find an article in the April/May issue of Birds and Blooms Magazine about our rain forest and my background. We own what is likely the only privately owned rain forest in this part of the country complete with both plants and animals. As a result of that article and my collection I am now working with the Little Rock Zoo in an effort to build a large combination zoological park which will be combined with a botanical garden in Little Rock. A rain forest under glass if you will with many species. My goal is to provide a gene bank for rare species while educating the public about the importance of the species found within their boundaries. But that project is just now in the original development stages.

    I communicate weekly with some of the top botanists in the world to make sure the information I post of my own website is scientifically accurate. An enormous amount of bad information can be found on the internet. That is simply because people can post anything they choose on the internet. Much of it becomes psuedo-fact after it is spread around repeatedly.

    If you choose to disbelieve what I write, that is fine. But I can assure you it has been scientifically scrutinized. I am not perfect, but I do quickly correct errors that people with a scientific background point out on the site. As a result, our site has grown at a phenomenal rate with thousands of plant lovers searching it daily for some information.

    As for the plant being an arrowhead vine, you can call it what ever you choose. But I assure you some of the top plant collectors and researchers in the country have now seen these photos and have agreed with the information provided by Russ Hammer in Central Florida. That is part of the problem with the use of common names for plants. Common names are little more than a name someone thought described the plant well. There are many, many plants that have the shape of an arrowhead. Not all are philodendrons but that group of plants does have some distintive characteristics. The distinctive characteristics of Syngonium species (such as non-coriacious leaf blades, this one certainly appears to be coriacious) do not match this plant.

    I use common names on the site, but only after I've given the most accurate botanical scientific name that can be verified. And believe me, I spend a lot of time having them verified including using photos of the spathe and spadix (the ultimate identifier), vein counts, and many other scientific features of the plant in question.

    If you choose to disagree, you will not provoke me into an arguement. I just enjoy getting the the bottom of these subjects and have done so for years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  21. bluesea

    bluesea Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    central Florida USA
    Hi folks. Interesting forum here. I feel very certain the plant in question is P. 'Red Emerald', one of the first hybrid Philodendrons and an easy-growing, sturdy Philodendron that is a good start for those beginners interested in collecting this genus. If this is grown as a climbing plant outdoors on trees in warm climates, leaves will be larger, longer and more narrow than if grown as an unattached vine, and will have more pointed lobes. Lobes are more rounded in immature stages. To the person identifying it as 'arrowhead', that common name is attributed to the genus Syngonium, having an 'arrowhead'-shaped leaf in immature stage, but 3, 5, 7 and 9 divided lobes when climbing as a more mature plant. Granted, many Philodendrons also have 'arrowhead'-shaped leaves, and some have divided leaves, but the 'arrowhead' name is invariably affixed to Syngonium. The commercial trade has persisted in using the name 'Nephthytis' for Syngonium, which is in error. Nephthytis is another genus entirely, and is extremely rare.

    A highly interesting phenomenon in Philodendrons is the change in leaf size and shape in climbing mode vs one in 'vining' mode such as in a hanging basket. Monsteras exhibit the most dramatic changes. The common 'Pothos' transforms from a 4" leaf in 'hanging basket mode', to a 2 ft long by 18 inch wide monster with split edges when climbing. These are a common sight here in Florida, climbing high in front yard trees.

    I have a few photos of 'Red Emerald' climbing a 4x4 post at my parent's home in Cocoa
    Beach Fla. I haven't checked to see how difficult it is to post photos here, but anyone interested in seeing these, let me know here and I'll send them to you personally.

    Russ
    central Florida USA
     
  22. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    My thanks to Russ! Another extremely knowledgeable collector, John Criswick, from the island of Grenada sent this quote to me just moments ago: "There are so many philodendrons that look something like that ! I too would guess it’s a commercial hybrid; possibly Red Emerald of the 1970s because of the reddish petioles. I certainly see no trace of Syngonium anywhere."

    John owns a large collection of rare philodendrons and other species which are in a private botanical garden on his island. If you are planning a Caribbean cruise to that part of the Caribbean his garden is worth a visit!

    The common name Red Emerald did not ring any bells right off but after checking further I found I have this plant listed on my website. It is a hybrid derivative of Philodendron erubescens K. Koch & Augustin. And this one loves to climb like a vine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  23. smivies

    smivies Active Member

    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    To photopro....I was actually agreeing with you, not 'provoking' you. I should have elaborated on my comment which was to say....the immediate, dramtic, but relatively harmless symptoms of oxalate consumption will certainly preclude any further consumption that could eventually result in a lethal dose.

    This is in great contrast to the consumption of other botanicals where either the lack of immediate symptoms or extreme toxicity of the material would result in a lethal dose with 'virtually' no warning.

    Bottom line.....I wouldn't be concerned with a rhubarb plant in the garden but the attractive red berries on a Daphne would have to go if young children were about.

    Simon
     
  24. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Thanks Simon. I realized that after I read your post several times. Problem was, I had already opened my mouth!

    You would not believe the volume of mail I've been receiving today on this subject. My email address is easily found on my website and people (mostly pet lovers and young mothers) have been making sure I hear their displeasure with my comments. People are trying to claim I am suggesting you let your kids eat these plants! I never said that, I attempted to explain it is similar to eating a mouthful of tiny glass needles! I just have long disliked the "deadly poison" stuff on the internet. For every single site that posts accurate information there are close to 100 that post the "deadly poison" myth.

    If I "pounced" too fast, forgive me. I attempt to reason, rather than argue. And you are absolutely correct, you would have to eat a lot of the stuff to experience a toxic situation. One bite (I've tried it with philodendrons) and that is enough to convince you not to take another! One physician once reminded me you can eat enough of just about any benign compound to do harm to your body! If someone insisted on attempting to eat enough they likely could do harm to themselves with a philodendron or anthurium.

    Thanks for your comments!
     
  25. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thunder Bay
    how old is this "old hybrid" Philodendron 'Red Emerald'?
     

Share This Page