The Q&A Archives: butterfly plant

Question: what is the difference between the butterfly plant (nephthuis podophyllum) and the arrowhead vine (syngonium podophyllum)?

Answer: Both terms refer to a single plant. The arrowhead vine or 'Nephthytis' (Syngonium podophyllum Schott) is a native of Mexico and Central America preferentially growing in moist to wet forests. Arrowhead vine is a popular houseplant and rightly so, it is a reliable species that with a little care always looks good.

'Nephthytis' was the name picked up by the horticultural trade. Not a bad name being derived from Nephthys, the Egyptian goddess of households. But by botanical rules, a plant's name reverts to the first correctly published name.

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