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Old April 17th, 2008, 06:47 AM
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photopro photopro is offline
Collector of Rare Araceae (deceased)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Siloam Springs, AR, USA
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Anthurium hookeri. A black version?

I have received a couple of questions asking if there is a black version of Anthurium hookeri. The answer is no, at least not in nature!

There are many hybridizes who sell plants and call them Anthurium hookeri. They are not that species in almost all cases. Anthurium hookeri, the true species, is in a very unusual class of Anthurium specimens. It is likely the only plant in its section and is not in the normal "birds nest" section known to botanists as Section Pachyneurium. America's top aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden has determined that Anthurium hookeri is a very unusual plant for a variety of reasons. But for reasons not known a lot of plant sellers sell any Anthurium they can't name correctly and call it "Anthurium hookeri" One grower in South Florida has been trying to stop this practice, but it is wide spread.

The most prominent reason is the true species Anthurium hookeri does not produce red berries as almost everyone believes. The berries of this species are white! There are also quite a few odd features about the true species and it does not even look like the vast majority of plants sold with the name Anthurium hookeri. Another prominent reason is the true species produces leaf veins that appear ladder like and are very evenly spaced. There are also tiny black dots known as glandular punctates on the bottom of the leaf blades.

If you really want to figure out if your plant is Anthurium hookeri please read this webpage:


The page has been reviewed by several botanists including Dr. Croat and David Scherberich and contains features that can help you decide if your plant truly is the species Anthurium hookeri. But there is no such thing known in nature as a "Black Anthurium hookeri". I suppose it may be possible that someone has managed to find a cultivar that is black, but unless it matches the specific description of the species including berry color and other unique features, it is not truly an Anthurium hookeri and it is highly probably the plant is a hybrid of unknown parentage. In the wild, the true species is considered rare.

In Dr. Croat's journal Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 1991, Dr. Croat comments that the frequency of the species in the wild in unknown. So, is it actually rare? Perhaps, at least in the Guiana Shield area of South America. I recently asked Dutch naturalist Joep Moonen for additional information on the species. Joep lives and works in the rain forests of French Guiana and often takes botanists into the jungle in search of rare and unusual specimens. In response, Joep made this remark, "I collected A. hookeri (I think) only in South Suriname in 1983 at an inselberg at 2000 feet high. I do not think the species lives in lowland forests, perhaps it is too hot. I will ask people that go to Martinique to look for them." And in a follow-up message, Joep continued, "I have never seen one on our excursions or expeditions in the Guianas apart from an expedition in 1983 to the very south of Suriname."

The photo below shows the true shape of Anthurium hookeri and was taken by botanist David Scherberich in France. I have David's permission to use the photograph.
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Steve Lucas
"Listen to Mother Nature. Her advice is best!"
Corresponding Secretary, International Aroid Society To join the IAS visit www.Aroid.org

Last edited by photopro; April 17th, 2008 at 09:45 AM.
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