Anthurium (Schott, 1829), is a large genus of about600- 800 (possibly 1,000) species, belonging to the arum family(Araceae).It is the largest and probably the most complex genus of thisfamily.Many species are undoubtedly not described yet and new ones arebeingfound every year.
They grow in the most diverse habitats,mostly in wet tropical mountain forest of Central America and SouthAmerica, but some in semi-arid environments. Most species occur inPanama, Colombia, Brazil, the Guiana Shield and Ecuador.According tothe work of noted aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat of theMissouri BotanicalGarden, this genus is not found in Asia. It issolely a neotropicalgenus found in Mexico, Central America and theWest Indies.
Some species have been introduced into Asian rain forests, but are not endemic.
Anthuriumgrows in many forms, mostly evergreen, bushy or climbing epiphyteswithroots that often hang from the canopy all the way to the floor oftherain forest. There are also many terrestrial forms as wellashemiepiphytic forms. A hemiepiphyte is a plant capable ofbeginninglife as a seed and sending roots to the soil, or beginning asaterrestrial plant that climbs a tree and then sends roots back tothesoil. They occur also as lithophytes. Some are only found inassociation with arboreal ant colonies or growing on rocks in midstream(such as A. amnicola).
The stems are short to elongatewith a length between 15 and 30 cm.The simple leaves come in manyshapes. Most leaves are to be found atthe end of the stem. They can bespatulate, rounded, or obtuse at theapex. They may be erect orspreading in a rosette, with a length up to40 cm. The upper surface ismatted or semiglossy. The leavesare petiolate. In drier environments,the leaves can take abird's-nest-shape rosette that enables the plantto collect fallingdebris, thus water and natural fertilizer.Terrestrials or epiphytesoften have cordate leaves. Some grow as vineswith rosettes of lanceolate leaves. Some species have many-lobed leaves.
Theflowers are small (about 3 mm) and develop crowded in a spike on afleshy axis and called a spadix,a characteristic of the arums. Theflowers on the spadix are oftendivided sexually with a sterile bandseparating male from femaleflowers. This spadix can take on many forms(club-shaped, tapered,spiraled, and globe-shaped) and colors (white,green, purple, red,pink, or a combination).
The spadix is part of aninflorescence. The outer portion of theinflorescence is known as thespathe. Some people like to call thespathe a "flower", however it issimply a modified leaf. The spathe maybe a single color (yellow, green,or white) or possibly multicoloredincluding burgundy and red. Thatsometimes colorful, solitary spathe: a showy modified bractthatcan be somewhat leathery in texture. There are no flowers on thespatheas is sometimes thought. The flowers are found solely on thespadix. Thespathe can vary in color from pale green to white, rose,orange or shinyred (such as A. andrenaum). The color changes between the budstage and the anthesis, (the time the flower expands).Thus the colormight change from pale green to reddish purple toreddish brown.
The flowers are hermaphrodite, containing male and female flowers. Thefruits are usually berries with one to multiple seeds on aninfructescence that may be pendant or erect depending on species.