Family : Araceae
Text © Pietro Puccio
English translation by Mario Beltramini
The Anthurium hookeri Kunth (1841) is native to the humid mountain forests of Dutch Antilles, Leeward Islands, Windward Islands, French Guyana, Guyana, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek words “anthos” = flower and “oura” = tail, with reference to the spadix of the inflorescence; the species is honoured to the English botanist William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865).
Common names: “bird’s nest anthurium”, “birdsnest flamingo flower”, “wild tobacco” (English); “anthurium nid d’oiseaux”, “anthurium feuille de choux” (French).
Epiphytic evergreen herbaceous of great size, tall up to about 1,5 m and 2 and more metres broad, with a short stem with close internodes, from which several aerial roots develop and a rosette of pale green leathery, obovate – oblanceolate leaves, which can reach, in the best cultivating conditions, a length of about 1 m and a breadth of 40 cm, on short petioles (2-9 cm long); the central and lateral venations are marked and of a pale green colour.
Axillar inflorescences, on an erect peduncle long about 45 cm, formed by a greyish or pale green spathe, about 8 cm long and 2 cm broad, tending to the purple and by a violet spadix, 10-15 cm long, on which are spirally wrapped small protogynous hermaphrodite flowers (the female part, the stigma, is receptive before the stamens are ripe, thus avoiding self-fertilization).
The fruits are ovoid berries, about 6 mm long, of a whitish colour with purple shades. It usually propagates by seed, germinating on the surface of porous substrata, kept constantly humid, in warm greenhouse.
Very ornamental plant, it can be cultivated in open areas in tropical and humid subtropical zones in shaded position and sheltered from the winds, which would harm its great leaves, on organic, porous, and draining substrata, kept constantly humid; the cultivation, in sheltered locations, in the warm temperate climate zones, can be tried, as it can bear, for short periods, temperatures around the 0°C, but with damage or loss of the foliage.
As pot plant, it is of great value for decorating wide spaces, it needs much ventilation, draining and rich of organic substance substrata and is to be placed in a luminous, but far from direct sun, position, in rooms with temperatures not under the 12-14°C; watering must be frequent in summer, reduced in winter, always avoiding stagnations of water, which can cause rottenness.
All parts of the plant contain toxic substances, in particular, calcium oxalate, which can cause irritations.
Synonyms: Pothos acaulis Dryand. (1810); Pothos crassinervius Hook. (1830); Anthurium amplum Kunth (1841); Anthurium neglectum Miq. (1853); Anthurium varians Miq. (1853); Anthurium huegelii Schott (1855); Anthurium hookeri f. longicuneatum Engl. (1898); Anthurium hookeri var. longicuneatum (Engl.) Engl. (1903).
The photographic file of Giuseppe Mazza