Philodendron xanadu

by Ian Edwards

Philodendron xanadu has been available in Australia since the 1980's' an easy to grow plant which reaches about 1 metre inxanadu height,taking plenty of sun and being a 'self header' it does not try to climb.   It was first distributed by a couple who thought they had a cultivar, as one seed apparently came among seeds of P. bipinnatifolium (syn P. seloum) from Brazil.  In 1989 they patented it in the United States as a cultivar and gave it the name 'Xanadu'.  Thousands of plants were produced by tissue culture and distributed.  Years later, in 2002, the plant was formally descibed by Croat, Mayo and Boos as a species, not a cultivar after all.  Someone had collected a plant from the wild in Brazil which appeared to be identical to 'Xanadu'.
In a further twist to the tale it now appears that the description of the species was slightly wrong in stating that it differed from other members of its subgenus in lacking posterior lobes on its leaf blades.  It now turns out that this characteristic is an effect of chemicals used in tissue culture, which older plants will outgrow.  As the plant ages the blades also become more deeply divided into lobes than in young plants produced by tissue culture.

Plant Articles Home