Arum pinnatifidum Vell.
Philodendron pygmaeum Chodat & Vischer
Philodendron selloum K.Koch
Sphincterostigma bipinnatifidum Schott
Philodendron bipinnatifidum is an evergreen shrub producing stems up to 2 metres tall and 10cm thick at the base[
]. The plant tends to be more upright when young but becomes more prostrate as it gets older[
The edible fruit is much esteemed in some parts of its native range[
]. It is gathered from the wild and also sometimes cultivated for local use, whilst the plant also has local medicinal uses.
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant.
People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[
Southern S. America - southern Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay.
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the tropics and subtropics, where it is usually found at elevations below 800 metres.
Prefers a moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil and a position in partial shade[
]. Plants are generally low feeders, but do benefit from occasional feeds that are rich in magnesium[
Like many species in the family Araceae, this plant has the ability to heat the flowering spadix as the pollen becomes ready for fertilization. This heat greatly increases the strength of the aroma released by the plant, thus attracting more pollinating insects. It can also have the effect of making the insects more active, thus increasing the level of fertilization. The temperature in the spadix of this species has been recorded as reaching 46°c on some occasions, though around 35°c is more common - this temperature being reached even when the surrounding air is near freezing[
Fruit - cooked[
]. Used in compotes[
The roots are used as a drastic purgative[
The seeds have medicinal uses[
Seed - germinates best at 20°c[
Stem tip cuttings.
Leaf bud cuttings.
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