Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) in Blooming
Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) in Blooming

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Description and Uses

The Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) is another gift of Latin America’s tropical forests to humanity. Of course, it may not be eaten – like other Latin American gifts, that is, potato and tomato – but it adorns, groomes and decorates.

The extraordinary beauty of its flower, both on the plant and as cut, attracts the gaze and overcomes or even annihilates the fact that it is not fragrance.

So what?

Mona Lisa is fragrant?

Flamingo Flower’s large sagittate- arrow leaves, along with its flowers, of course, contribute to the creation of the plant attractive appearance

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) The Leaves & Flowers
Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) The Leaves & Flowers
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Flamingo Flower Origin

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) Map of Origin
Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Map of Origin

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) The Red Spath & Spadix
Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) The Red Spath & Spadix

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Brief Description

Family: Araceae

Genus: Anthurium

Scientific name: Anthurium andraeanum Linden ex André

Common name: Flamingo Flower, Laceleaf, Tailflower, Flamingo Lily, Painter’s Palette 

General Characteristics

Leaf Persistence

Evergreen

Form

Herbaceous

Texture

Coarse

Growth Rate

Slow

Flowering Period (Tropics)

Sporadically through the year

Fruiting Period

Sporadically through the year

Height

0.6-0.9 m (2-3 ft) Indoors: 0.5-0.6 m (1.7-2 ft)

Diameter

0.5-0.6 m (1.7-2 ft)

Shapes and Colours

Leaves Shape

Sagittate – Arrow

Foliage Colour

Green

Autumn Foliage Colour

Green

Flowers Shape

Spadix

Flowers Colour

White

Fruit

Berry

Plantation

Soil Type: Well-drained, sand, loam

Exposure: Half-shade

Soil pH: 5.5-7

Watering: Moderate

Hardiness: 1.7 °C (35 °F – USDA Hardiness zone 10b)

Uses

Specimen, parks, gardens, pots and containers indoor and outdoor, cut flower

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Etymology

Etymology of the Genus Name

The name of the genus Anthurium is another imaginative Neo-Latin composite word, which consists of the Ancient Greek ‘ἄνθος’ (flower) και ‘ουρά’ (tail). In turn they have Proto-Indo-European origin, the first by the word *h₂éndʰos (blossom, sprout, grass) and the second by the word *ors-ā- (tail). So it could be said that thanks to this intelligent combination we can easily distinguish the ‘flower tail’ (the Anthuriums spadix) from the tail of the donkey or the fox – for example.

Etymology of the Species Name

The name of the species andraeanum has infinitely more clear origin: it is the Neo-Latin version of the last name of Édouard François André (17 July 1840 – 25 October 1911). Who was Édouard François André? So, he was a French architect, a great landscape architect (designer amongst others of Sefton Park in England and Luxembourg Castle – the City of Luxembourg Castle) and botanist. Edouard François André, on a mission in the Colombian rainforest, discovered this species, which he sent to Belgium, from where it slowly spread to the rest of the world.

Since then, floriculture owes to him the growth of another dynamic sector.

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Origin & Life Span

Origin

Unlike many other species, Anthurium andraeanum‘s origin is located in a relatively small area of tropical rainforests that are included between southwest Colombia and northwestern Ecuador.

In its natural niches, it grows as an epiphyte in shady places and in areas with high atmospheric humidity (> 70%) and temperatures ranging from 18 to 32 °C (64-90 °F).

Life Span

Flamingo Flower in cultivation lives from 5 to 10 years, but if it is divided to propagated lives for decades.

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Morphological Elements

Anthurium andraeanum is a herbaceous, perennial and rhizomatous, evergreen plant of small height and slow annual growth rate. It is spherical in shape, upright in habit with open symmetrical foliage of coarse texture. It is cultivated for its flowers, which are actually transformed leaves – bract, whose lifetime on the plant reaches 25 to 30 days (in tropical areas up to 40).

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum - Flamingo Flower Pollinated Spadix
Anthurium andraeanum - Flamingo Flower Pollinated Spadix

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Botanical Description

Roots

Anthurium andraeanum is a typical epiphyte which grows on the branches of various tropical trees. It has a dense root system with creamy textured tuberous rhizomes and small hairy lateral roots having yellow colored root tips.

Leaves

Flamingo Flower has simple, glossy, large, leathery leaves, of a beautiful dark green color, arranged spirally forming a rosette on a very short stem. They have long petioles of round cross section, whose diameter for the mature leaf is 0.3 to 0.4 cm (0.12-0.23 in) and the length is between 12 and 15 cm (4.7-6 in).

The shape of the leaves is ovate-sagittate, with acuminate apex and deeply cordate base which is composed of two lobes whose width is between 2.5 and 3.5 cm (1-1.3 in). The venation is conspicuous and pinnate veining, while the mid-vein protrude at the underside, as well as the primary veins of the leaf blade.

The lamina has a smooth periphery, is entire, its texture is shiny and thick and its length is between 12 and 20 cm (4.7-7.8 in) for a mature leaf.

Flowers

Flowers are monoecious (hermaphrodite) and grow on axillary inflorescence, the spadix. It is numerous (150 to 200), very small, with a length of between 0.05 cm and 0.10 cm (0.02-0.04 in) and a diameter of between 0.08 and 0.10 cm (0.03-0.04 in).

The spadix is erect and has a white color except the top that is yellow. Its length is between 8 and 12 cm (3.1-4.7 in) while its width at the upper part of the spadix is between 0.4 and 0.6 cm (0.15-0.23 in) and at the base from 0.6 to 0.9 cm (0.23-0.35 in).

Anthurium andraeanum flowers consist of 4 tepals. The male part of the flower has 4 stamens and anthers dehiscent by slit carried on strap-shaped filaments. The pistil is less than 0.01 cm (0.004 in), has a very short style and globose stigma and ovary which is two-loculed.

Spadix is surrounded by the spathe, which although it looks like a large ‘petal’ flower is nothing but a bract – a modified leaf. The spathe has an oval to spherical shape – cordate at the base – and is tapering to an apex. Its color is pink or red while its dimensions range from 8 to 15 cm (3.1-6 in) in length and 8 to 10 cm (3.1-4 in) in width.

Pollination

Characteristic of the flowering of Anthuriums is that they first mature female parts of them (protogynous flowers) and after 20 to 30 days is followed by the male part. Theses phases excludes the self-pollination of Anthuriums flower, with the result that are only cross-pollinated.

The pollination of the flowers, under natural conditions, is effected by insects – mainly bees, beetles and ants.

Fruit

Five to six months after the flowers pollination, the plant’s fruits (berries) grow from the bottom to the top along of spadix. They are red in color, have one to two seeds per fruit
and a length of between 0.08 and 0.15 cm (0.03-0.06 in).

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Climate and Soil

Temperature

Anthurium andraeanum, as plant of the tropical rainforests, is cold intolerance. The minimum temperatures, which are also the lowest tolerance limit, range between 4 and 1.7 °C (40-35 °F). With high temperatures its behavior is satisfactory as long as also the atmospheric humidity is high.

The AHS (American Horticultural Society), in terms of high temperatures, classifies the plant in zones 1 to 12 (12 = average annual number of days with temperatures above 30 °C [86 °F], 210). However, at very high temperatures it may cause burns in the leaves and fading of the flower color.

Soil and pH

Anthurium andraeanum can be grown in a variety of soil types – excluding clay soils – provided they drain well but at the same time retain the necessary moisture. In any case, without excellent soil porosity Flamingo Flower’s cultivation will fail.

In terms of pH, it grows in moderately acidic to neutral reaction soils ranging between 5.5 and 7, but thrives in moderately acidic soils with values ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.

Exposure

Anthurium andraeanum can be placed in half-shade or shady places – if cultivated in the garden. However, when used as an indoor plant, it is recommended that it is always placed in extremely bright places, which favor its abundant flowering.

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Pests & Diseases

Anthurium andraeanum does not count many problems with pests and diseases. On the contrary, it counts a few and sometimes serious.

Pests

Immediately below are recorded the most important pests of Flamingo Flower.

Various Insects
  • Aleurotulus anthuricola
  • Chaetanaphothrips orchidii (Anthurium Thrips)
  • Phyllophaga smithi (White Grub)
Scales
  • Ceroplastes rubens (Red Wax Scale)
  • Icerya seychellarum (Seychelles Scale)
  • Pinnaspis buxi
  • Pseudaonidia trilobitiformis (Trilobite Scale)
  • Vinsonia stellifera (Stellate Scale)
Mealybugs
  • Nipaecoccus nipae (Spiked Mealybug)
Acari
  • Brevipalpus phoenicis (False Spider Mite)
  • Eriophyes hibisci (Hibiscus Mite)
Nematodes
  • Aphelenchoides fragariae (Strawberry Crimp Nematode)
  • Radopholus similis (Burrowing Nematode)

By using the appropriate insecticides and acaricides the treatment is satisfactory, except for nematodes whose populations are difficult to control.

Diseases

After the pests, the recording of the diseases follows.

Nematodes
  • Calonectria ilicicola
  • Colletotrichum gloeosporioides– syn. Glomerella cingulata (Anthracnose)
  • Myrothecium roridum
  • Phytophthora nicotianae (Black Shank)
  • Phytophthora tropicalis
  • Sphaerobolus stellatus
Bacteria
  • Xanthomonas campestris pv. Dieffenbachiae (Anthurium Blight)

By using the appropriate fungicides their treatment is satisfactory for fungi, while the latter are extremely difficult to control.

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Toxicity & Allergenicity

Toxicity

Anthurium andraeanum is toxic to humans and pets because it contains calcium oxalate crystals in its tissues. If swallowed (chewing), a strong burning sensation and an inflammatory reaction, including blisters and edema, may occur. As for the toxicity it is classified in categories 2, 3.

Allergenicity

An allergic reaction may occur if the sap of the plant comes in contact with the skin.

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Varieties & Cultivars

Because of its exceptional popularity, Anthurium andraeanum has attracted the interest of the breeders, resulting in the creation of dozens new varieties of the plant. The subject for both researchers and breeders is mainly the creation of more and most attractive hues and shapes of Anthurium flowers, with basic orientation the market of cut flowers.

For these varieties, we promise – in a manner of speaking – a special tribute in the short future.

Of the varieties that can be planted in the garden, particularly noteworthy – among others – are Anthurium andraeanum ‘White Heart’ and Anthurium andraeanum ‘Purple Plum’.

Flamingo Flower Varieties

Anthurium andraeanum ‘White Heart’

It differs from the typical species as regards the appearance and size of the leaves and the flower.

The leaves are larger, have a stronger green color and are more acute, while the flower is white with a pink spadix.

Varieties of Anthurium andraeanum – Anthurium andraeanum 'White Heart'
Varieties of Anthurium andraeanum – Anthurium andraeanum 'White Heart'

Anthurium andraeanum ‘Purple Plum’

Both the spath and the spadix have intense purple color while the leaves are of deep green color.

Varieties of Anthurium andraeanum – Anthurium andraeanum 'Purple Plum'
Varieties of Anthurium andraeanum – Anthurium andraeanum 'Purple Plum'

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) – Description and Uses

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) Indoor In Pot
Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) Indoor In Pot

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - Use

Use as an Indoor Plant

Flamingo Flower, without being one of the easiest to cultivate plants, can be grown in pots and decorate the interior of the houses.

On the other hand, Anthurium andraeanum belongs to the category of those plants that clean the air from dangerous toxic substances, such as formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene, and this is another reason for the plant lovers to try to incorporate it as houseplant.

In addition, the flowers, of course, are suitable for decorating vases or potteries.

Use in Garden and Landscape

In areas suitable for its growth, it can be planted both on the ground and in pots at shady or half-shade exposures.

Thus, it could be said that Anthurium andraeanum is being exploited:

  • As a plant of particular interest – mass planted or alone
  • As groundcover plant
  • In combination with other exotic plants such as Philodendron (Philodendron bipennifolium) and Garden Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)

Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Flower) - References

The Anthurium andraeanum References are presented, by the Peruvian music ensemble  Los Hijos del Sol with their song Cariñito.

Play Video
  1. Clay, H. F., Hubbard, J. C., & Golt, R. (1987). Tropical exotics. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.
  2. French, J. C., & Mayo, S. J. (n.d.). The genera of Araceae. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens.

Anthurium andraeanumAnturio Rosado – EOL

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