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.

Flower
Off Kent Ridge Road; 2009.

Pollination may be via scarab beetles, but not confirmed.

IMG_5502
Off Springfield road; Secondary forest; 2011.

Fruit

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.

Reference:

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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