Archive for November, 2009

Syngonium podophyllum

Syngonium podophyllum Schott var. podophyllum

Status: Exotic, and Naturalized – encroaching on edges of closed canopy forests. Cultivated.

Recent Synonyms: None relevant. Was mistaken as S. auritum (L.) Schott.

Adult leaves

Growth Form or Habit: Juvenile form is a terrestrial herb, but upon climbing, adult form is a hemi-epiphyte.

Juvenile leaves

Close up of juvenile leaves
Punggol End; 2010.

Leaves: Simple; juvenile lamina entire, and saggitate or hastate; adult lamina 5-, 7-, 9-, 11- or even 13-pedatisect.

Stem: Glaucous, lacking any projections or emergences. Adult hemiepiphytic form with aerial roots. Capable of vegetative propagation via stem fragments.

Flowers: Ellipsoid spathe tube; spathe blade  about 1.5 times as long as staminate spadix. Spathe blade and tube yellow-green.

Off Kent Ridge Road; 2009.

Pollination may be via scarab beetles, but not confirmed.

Off Springfield road; Secondary forest; 2011.


Fruits: Fleshy, brown syncarp inside red, ovoid spadix, 3-4cm long. fleshy, etc. Rough sizes and special structures are good. Seeds endospermous, grey-black, 3-4mm diameter.

May be too large for bird dispersal. Suggested mammal dispersal instead (e.g. primates).

Habitat: Forest margins, wasteland, abandoned land, waysides.

Occurrence: Throughout Singapore. Also at the edges of Central Catchment, Bukit Timah Nature Reserves, and back mangrove of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Distribution: Native range from Mexico to Brazil. Escaped in Florida, Samoa, and naturalized in Tonga, and invasive in Niue.


Chong, K.Y., Ang, P.T. and Tan, H.T.W. (2010) Identity and spread of an exotic Syngonium species in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 3: 1–5. Available online: [PDF]

More pictures can be found at

(1) Urban Forest website

(2) The Plant Observatory website

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