Total plant newb: need indentification and advice please!

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by lmarieaa, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. lmarieaa

    lmarieaa Member

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    hello! I am new to the this hobby and so far, I have not been very lucky. I have been through a handful of plants. After doing some research on the internet, I realized I was killing them with kindness by grossly overwatering them. I am not really sure when they need water and when they do not. Does the soil need to be completely dry before I water again? How much water do i give them? Also, when do i fertilize them and whats the best to give them?
    I recently took a trip to the floral shop and picked up a few new plants to start over with in hopes of not killing them this time. I am hoping someone can help me indentify them and maybe give me any tips for them. Thanks!

    The only plant that I know what it is, is the Jade. I didn't post a specific pic of that one.

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  2. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    1. Spider plant
    2. Parlor palm
    3. Schefflera
    4. Jade plant (L)---Schefflera (R)---center...???
    5. Caladium?...Syngonium?
    6. Calathea?
    7. Dieffenbachia
    8. Pothos
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Looks like:
    1. Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum', Spider Plant;
    2. Chamaedorea elegans, Parlour Palm;
    3. Schefflera arboricola, Umbrella Tree;
    4. Peperomia obtusifolia;
    5. Caladium bicolor, Angels' Wings;
    6. Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana, Prayer Plant;
    7. Dieffenbachia 'Camille', Dumb Cane;
    8. Epipremnum pinnatum, Pothos.
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Dang nab it! My first thought with #6 was Maranta, but I plumped for Calathea. Phooey!
    Thanks, Jk.
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Not surprising since Maranta and Calathea are closely related. I wavering on #5; it could also be Syngonium podophyllum, Arrowhead Vine.
     
  6. lmarieaa

    lmarieaa Member

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    Thanks so so much! If anyone has any tips for keeping them, please share! Are they all generally easy to care for as long as i do not drown them?
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thank for the correction, photopro. As for Caladium vs. Syngonium, could it be determined by the texture of the leaf? The former being papery compared to waxy for the latter?

    Edit: It's a case of deja vu. I answered my own question several years ago in this post in Identification: - I need I.D. Help! | UBC Botanical Garden Forums. Answer is 'yes'.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    The differences noted in this post are inaccurate and will will be explained later in this thread.
    The best method is to look for a collective vein. A collective vein runs around the edge of Syngonium, Anthurium and other species but is not found on a Caladium. They are sometimes small and difficult to see in a photo.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks for the tip, photopro. There are detailed images of both plants on this page. The caladiums seem to have a vein near the leaf margin but one which is much less prominent. Could you expand on your explanation using the images as an example?
     
  11. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Just back from Little Rock. I'll take a photo of a Syngonium in the morning and point out the collective vein. In the meantime this is the definition of Collective Vein as I wrote it for an article in the next issue of Aroideana:

    A submarginal vein that lies parallel to and near the leaf margin into which the primary lateral veins run. The collective vein may be a continuation of a primary lateral leaf vein often the lowermost or the uppermost basal vein and may encircle or partially encircle the leaf. Observed in Anthurium, Syngonium, Alocasia, Colocasia, Xanthosoma, Pycnospatha, Arisaema, Protarum, some Amorphophallus and other genera.

    Submarginal means "not at the margin(edge) but very near it" If you have any Anthurium or Alocasia around just look at the very edge of the leaf. On an Anthurium it may run completely around the blade in some species but often starts about one third down the blade and extends from a primary lateral vein running around the bottom of the leaf and up the other side to join into another large vein. On Syngonium it is further away from the edge than on an Anthurium but still very prominent.
     
  12. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Total plant newb: need identification and advice please!

    I found a few examples on my computer. As you can see, the collective vein of the Syngonium is set back away from the margin while the Anthurium and Alocasia are much closer.

    Collective veins aren't found on a Caladium.
     

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  13. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Please have patience with this amateur. The collective veins can be clearly seen in your photos but something less pronounced can also be seen on the caladiums in the previous link. I would have a difficult time making a decisive call based on the vein. Could you pick a photo of a caladium from the link and point out the differences?

    I'll make a point of looking more closely at the leaves on my next visit to the nursery. Maybe it's more apparent when it's up close and in person.
     
  14. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I've been reading since right after I put up those photos and Caladium sp. may in-fact have a collective vein! I've never noticed them but I also have never really studied the genus Caladium!

    I'm shooting off a note to a very good friend who is an expert in this genus and will ask specifically for difference in Caladium and Syngonium.

    By the way, Caladium bicolor can take on many, many variations (forms) and few in the wild look like the ones we grow in our yards.

    As soon as I get a response I'll post it.
     
  15. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    You just made me go learn something new!

    Caladium sp. do in fact have a collective vein but there is something unusual in the description I can't figure out. I'll get back to you as soon as I can learn about this one better. I'm also trying to learn the exact differences between the genera.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you a major difference in the two genus without going further.

    Caladium grow from an underground stem known as a tuber while Syngonium are climbing vines (thus the name Arrowhead vine). Caladium do not climb while the stem of a Syngonium is attached to a tree. As for the blade differences I'm still working on that one.

    If anyone doesn't understand the difference in stem types read this: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/What is a stem. What is a petiole.html
     
  17. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The difference in stems has limited usefulness for identification of juvenile plants. At that stage both plants look quite similar in a photograph which is all that one has to work with in a plant forum. Would the tubers of the young caladium growing in a 4" or 6" pot be significant in size, enough to identify the plant if one were to pop the rootball out of the pot?
     
  18. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Total plant newb: need identification and advice please!

    Certainly. Just go to the store and buy a bag of Caladium "bulbs". By the way, those aren't bulbs.

    I realize your concern is about juvenile plants but the Syngonium will also morph significantly as it grows while the Caladium will morph little. In very short order the Syngonium will begin to develop a visual stem above ground, again "Arrowhead vine". You will never see a vine on a Caladium.

    A bulb is an underground storage structure used to store starches and water. It is a condensed stem usually with a basal plate and fleshy storage leaves surrounding the bud that will form the next plant. A bulb is composed of thick modified leaves arranged in layers that are used for food storage. If you want to see the inside of a bulb slice open an onion since an onion is a perfect example of a bulb.

    The term bulb is used far more commonly in horticulture but never in relationship to an aroid, at least by a scientist. As you can see an onion is not like the tubers that grow from any aroid including a Syngonium. A bulb is just a type of stem and this stem type occurs in many plant families but not in the family Araceae (aroids).

    A corm is an underground stem to which the above-ground parts of the plant may die back in the dormant season. It often stores starch and when it regrows foliage will come from the top and roots grow from the base like a typical stem. There are no true examples of a corm in the aroid family.

    My friend and scientist Christopher Rogers wrote the following to further describe a corm: "a corm is composed entirely of stem tissue. It is literally just an underground stem. It has an epidermal layer, a vascular cylinder with phloem and xylem and central pith. A corm can also be a starch storage organ, but it still has true stem tissue. This is why a corm has the new foliage growth coming from the top and the roots coming from the base. Corm examples are Crocus, Cyclamen and Gladiolus.”

    The xylem is a plant tissue of various cells that is capable of transporting water and other substances including mineral salts to the leaves.

    A tuber is a strongly condensed stem as well as an underground structure which is almost entirely a starch storage organ. The buds for future growth and the roots all develop at the apex (top) when the tuber sometimes forms as the tip of a stolon. Stolons are stem runners or stem shoots that run atop or just under the ground from a plant. Stolons possess the ability to produce new plants from the buds along its length or at the apex (tip).

    Christopher explains further, “A tuber is just parenchyma (with some vascular tissue). It has an epidermal layer with some subdermal vascular tissue, and all the rest is parenchyma.” Parenchyma is the primary tissue of most plants which is composed of the thin cells which form the bulk of leaves, roots and other plant parts.

    He continues with his explanation of a tuber, “It is almost entirely a starch storage organ. This is why the foliage and the roots all come from the top. Most plants with tubers have them borne on stolons, but that is not necessary. In Amorphophallus, Arum and Typhonium for example, the stem tissue is all encased in the small bud at the top of the tuber. That bud grows upward into a leaf or two, and outward into roots, with the tuber beneath. Other tuber examples are potatoes and Sinningia."

    Although many authors use bulb, corm and tuber interchangeably the only term that is truly applicable to an aroid is tuber.

    If you read the article I noted earlier you should understand about stems. On UBC I've tried many times to explain the stalk that supports a leaf is not a stem but somehow I doubt I ever got the point across to the majority of users. That may be because the technical definition of a stem does say that stems support leaves. The primary point that is left out of that definition is the definition of a leaf.

    A leaf is composed of two parts...... a petiole and a blade. So yes, the stem supports the "leaf" but the stem is not the direct support for the blade. That support is the petiole. People often confuse this when looking at an Amorphophallus species. The stem is underground (a tuber) and the stalk that supports the divided leaf is a petiole, not a stem. At the top is a single divided leaf.

    I will do my best to define the differences in the leaf blades of a Syngonium and a Caladium once I hear back from two experts tomorrow.

    One final point. Juvenile aroids are the source of a tremendous amount of confusion for the plant collector. Just take a look at the ontogeny of some of the plants on this page:

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Natural variation within aroid and plant species.html


    Ontogeny is the natural changes in any living organism as it morphs from a juvenile to an adult. Just go dig out your own baby, childhood and adult photos. The differences you see demonstrate your own ontogeny.
     

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    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  19. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Total plant newb: need identification and advice please!

    These base definitions of the two genera are from CATE Araceae, a website operated by the Royal Botanic Garden Kew in London. I realize they are technical but if you don't already own a copy of a good botanical dictionary may provide you with the desire to buy one, often $10 or so on Amazon.com. Because I enjoy learning about aroids I bought all five of the best ones.

    The base definition of the genus Syngonium

    Evergreen, climbing hemiepiphytes with milky latex, sometimes creeping on the ground in submature growth, internodes long; leaf blade cordate, sagittate or hastate to pedatisect or rarely pinnatifid, usually with submarginal collective vein, fine venation reticulate; flowers unisexual, perigone absent; male flowers connate into truncate synandrium; berries connate into indehiscent syncarp.

    The base definition of the genus Caladium

    Tuberous geophytes; leaves usually peltate, blade often variegated, cordate-sagittate, sagittate or rarely trisect, fine venation reticulate, inframarginal collective vein present; spathe strongly constricted, blade withering immediately after anthesis, tube persistent; spadix fertile to apex; flowers unisexual, perigone absent; male flowers forming a truncate synandrium, pollen shed in monads. Differs from Scaphispatha in spathe tube always convolute at anthesis, well developed sterile flowers between male and female zones, stylar region as broad as ovary (Caladium paradoxum has discoid, coherent stylar regions), placentas 1-2 (-3), parietal to subbasal.

    Since I recently finished writing an article with a long list of definitions for a botanical journal I'll do my best to answer some as needed. As I noted earlier in this thread the main differences are the Syngonium is a climber (hemiepiphyte) and the Caladium is a terrestrial plant (geophyte). Geophytes grow from a subterranean structure such as a bulb, corm or tuber. A hemiepiphyte is a plant that begins as a seed in the soil but climbs a tree to reach brighter light in order to mature.

    Primary hemiepiphytes begin as seeds in the droppings of a rain forest inhabitant which germinate on the trunk or limbs of a tree as do an epiphyte, then develop long roots which eventually reach the ground. In this way they attain height in the forest as quickly as possible in order to reach brighter light.

    Secondary hemiepiphytes start their lives in the soil or on a tree trunk near the ground with roots to the ground to gather additional nutrients. They then climb the host where they morph into the adult form and sometimes completely lose their connection to the ground. My guess would be a Syngonium would likely be a secondary hemiepiphyte.

    I do understand why you want to know about the blade differences but a botanist would find that immaterial since juveniles are rarely used to distinguish much, if anything. I'm also very unsure about your original definition between these two.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  20. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure I’m going to be able to find a simple way to make a species determination based on a comparison of a juvenile Syngonium podophyllum and a plant that is at least a semi-adult Caladium species. I have just read all the scientific info I can locate on both genera and there does not appear to be any simple way to make such a comparison.

    Forgive me for being technical but some additional information is required for those that have little background in such a comparison.

    The term “genus” defines a group of plants defined by their common characteristics that are divided into subordinate species. The term “species” is defined as an exclusive taxonomic unit or group of individual organisms that share common characteristics, distinction or qualities separating them from other groups. All of the species with a certain number of characters in common are grouped as a genus.

    As a result it is all but impossible to take two species, each from a different genus, and come up with a definition that will always work to determine which plant is which genus.

    Syngonium podophyllum is highly variable and has 46 synonym names. Caladium bicolor has 63 synonym names due to its high rate of variability. If anyone reading this has not read my link to variability and ontogeny, the information is very important to understanding why coming up with a simple distinction is so difficult.
    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Natural variation within aroid and plant species.html

    Again, trying to define plants by the shape of a blade alone is often useless. In botany the difference in two species may be little more than the way the tiny flowers form on the spadix. As you may have noticed above, the genus Caladium differs from the genus Scaphispatha only in the shape of the spathe tube and other features a plant collector would rarely notice.

    From the base definition of the genus Syngonium the main differences I can see as compared to a Caladium include Syngonium always have their stem above ground, climb trees as either epiphytes or hemiepiphytes and the blades produce a milky latex. The two species do sometimes produce blades with at least similar blade shapes. A principle difference would be Syngonium sometimes creep across the soil as a juvenile while Caladium do not. Caladium however do produce short rhizomatous offsets. (A rhizome is a type of stem)

    The blades of a Syngonium are normally cordate (heart shaped), sagittate (shaped like an arrowhead) or hastate (arrowhead to spear shaped) and normally have a submarginal collective vein. The veins are fine.

    Caladium are always tuberous geophytes with leaves that are normally peltate. Peltate indicates a leaf is often more or less circular with the petiole attached to the under surface rather than at the base. However, the blades of a Caladium may be cordate-sagittate, sagittate with a collective vein present. The blades of a Caladium are normally semi-glossy and may be sub-velvety in appearance.

    The major veins of Caladium bicolor should be sunken on the upper surface with leaves that are membranous which can mean they are sometimes semi-transparent (thin). The would normally be 6 to 8 primary lateral veins with the two basal veins running into the basal lobes. Please remember, just because the leaf blades do not look alike does not mean they are a different species.

    Syngonium podophyllum grows as an epiphyte or hemiepiphitic vine with blades that are subcoriaceous (less than leathery) as well as semi-glossy. The major veins are sunken with a midrib that is narrowly round-raised. The primary lateral veins should also be narrowly raised. S. podophyllum also morphs into a tri-lobe adult, see my photos above.

    There is really no easy way to distinguish plants in the juvenile form but these suggestions may help. For anyone reading this that have not read my links on natural variation, the difference in a stem and a petiole as well as the differences in stem types I doubt any of this will make a great deal of sense.

    If you are interested in the differences in aroids I highly recommend you join the International Aroid Society since you will receive our quarterly newsletter with great articles as well as our annual journal Aroideana. There is also a great deal of information on the IAS website www.Aroid.org
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  21. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    ...And of course, if you're in a wild situation, your geography will tell you a lot about what you're looking at. Syngonium are old-world tropics plants, and Caladium belong to the new-world tropics.

    Steve, if you want some closeup photos of Caladium steudneriifolium (both forms) that show the origination of the collective veins, please let me know.
     
  22. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Send them Beth! I do my best to keep a good file of every aroid I can locate since I never know what I might want to dig into next! Wild specimen photos are always more valuable than cultivated plants since we have no way of knowing if hybridization is involved in a horticultural plant.

    Thanks!

    Steve
     
  23. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    By the way Junglekeeper, "papery vs. waxy" would be somewhat correct since Caladium are membranous while Syngonium are subcoriaceous.
     
  24. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Steve, I don't have them right now - what I have are habit pictures. Next time I'm in the woods where they occur, though, I'll know to take the more detailed shots. C. steudneriifolium is pretty interesting, especially the variegate form, although the venation is more obvious on the solid form. Oh, and it's also the exception for Caladium leaf texture - they tend to be more velvety than other Caladiums.

    The other thing I've noticed about differentiating between young Syngonium and young Caladium is that the young Syngonium tends to have fewer leaves present on a single or two stems, whereas Caladium has more, and each is on its own petiole.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  25. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Wow, Steve. That's a lot of information to chew on - it would be a challenge for me to absorb all of it.

    Beth or Steve, please post the photos of Caladium steudneriifolium for comparative purposes when they become available.
     

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