split leaf philodendron? tropical? what is it? - Knowledgebase Question

port neches, tx
Question by maddoxlarry
June 15, 2007
i have what looks like a giant ivy or tropical plant with huge split leaves. the stalk as large as a small tree. in the month of may the plant produces lots of seeds or fruit that look like a peeled banana and has an intoxicating aroma kind of like a spice, but only after dark. during the day the plant has no smell at all. when these

Answer from NGA
June 15, 2007


I think your plant is a philodendron tree (Philodendron bipinnatifidum). Tree philodendron (also called split leaf philodendron) grows as a large semiwoody shrub with enormous glossy leaves and a single erect unbranched stem that tends to fall over and sprawl when the plant gets large. The robust stem bears stout aerial rootlets between conspicuous leaf scars. The leaves are up to 3 ft (0.9 m) long, deeply dissected into many wavy-margined lobes and held on long petioles. Older and larger plants develop leaves that are more deeply dissected and more ruffled. The inflorescence consists of a 1 ft (0.3 m) long purplish red spathe enclosing an upright spadix with many tiny petalless flowers.

Tree philodendron can get as large as 15 ft (4.6 m) tall and 15 ft (4.6 m) wide with a stem 6 in (17.8 cm) or more in diameter. Windowleaf or ceriman (Monstera deliciosa) is superficially similar to tree philodendron, but it has actual holes (windows) in the leaves instead of just indentations and lobes.

'German Selloum' has very narrow leaf lobes, and 'Variegatum' has leaves with yellow markings. Numerous hybrids with other philodendron species have been developed as well. The old name, Philodendron selloum, is still frequently seen.

If you go to the following website:
and click on ID Center, you can submit a photo for positive identification of your plant.

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