The history of some plants, cultivated by man, counts for several millennia. Acquaintance with the anthuriums, as with one of the genera of the Aroids family, began only a century and a half ago, but during this time a lot of myths and sometimes persistent misconceptions formed around plants.
One of the often heard opinions about the origin of the anthurium is that the lushly flowering species are the indigenous inhabitants of the Pacific islands, including Hawaii. Indeed, getting to this paradise of the world can not be surprised by the diversity of the plant world, in which one of the main places are occupied by the anturiums.
Today, this culture is considered “the heart of Hawaii”, a symbol and local talisman. On the islands there is a mass of the most vivid and unusual hybrids, but, contrary to the myth, believed by the Hawaiians themselves, the anthurium’s homeland is not at all here.
Where is the birthplace of the anthurium?
The discovery of one of the largest genera of the plant world took place in 1876, when the enthusiastic botanist from France Edouard André, traveling through South America, did not find one of the anturium specimens right at his window. An unprecedented plant was transported to Europe, where the abode of the foggy forests of Colombia was described and named Anthurium andreanum.
The plant with green foliage and erect flower stalks, crowned with inflorescences-cobs and red bracts, was widespread throughout Colombia and northern Ecuador. It is these places that can be considered the birthplace of the Anturium and a peculiar center of the spread of culture around the world.
One of the first places where anthuriums fell into the will of Europeans, and Hawaii became. On the islands, unusual flowering plants in 1889 brought missionary Samuel Damon, who did much for the region and even became Minister of Finance of the Republic.
Another misconception is connected with what plants can be called an anturium. Unfortunately, most of the florists classify as genus only Anthurium andreanum and Anthurium scherzerianum with decorative bright inflorescences. This is not true.
Variety of anthuriums
It turns out that the territory of South and Central America is inhabited not only by plants with a recognizable bright veil, but other close species.
They are included in the genus of the Anthuriums and are of interest to all plant lovers, including those who are engaged in indoor cultures. Blooming anthuriums in their homeland and around the world have become fashionable indoor and garden plants, they are valued for the external appeal and durability of even cut flowers that remain fresh for 2 to 8 weeks.
Today, according to the most conservative estimates of scientists in the genus of the Anturium, whose range extends to the subtropical and tropical regions of the Americas from Mexico to Paraguay, 800 species are included. And in 2010, botanists were declared about 1000 species of anthuriums and the need to continue to study the flora of America in every way possible.
Anthuriums are widespread in the Andes and Cordilleras, which are overgrown with forests. Here, plants prefer to settle at altitudes up to 3.5 km above sea level. And among the inhabitants of the humid tropics can be found and terrestrial plants, and epiphytes, as well as species occupying an intermediate niche. Such anthuriums, beginning their century on the lower tier of the forest, gradually, with the help of roots and shoots, rise higher towards the sun. Below, in savannahs with a drier climate, you can also find anthuriums that are perfectly adapted to this lifestyle.
The video about the anthurium will acquaint you with the peculiarities of plants, their habitats and tell about varieties suitable for domestic farming.
Adaptability of all kinds of anthuriums is extremely high. They have remarkably settled the soil, some species are epiphytes. Like small and large nests on the trunks and branches of trees look rosettes of anthuriums. In this case, plants are not parasites. They do not take away the juices and food from the species on which they are entrenched, but feed on small deposits of organic matter and atmospheric moisture and oxygen.
The only environment that does not submit to plants is water.
Despite the prevailing opinion about the love of anthurium to moisture and even the possibility of growing it in an aquarium, none of the species studied can adapt to life in the water.
For example, Anthurium amnicola grows on the coastal stones, firmly clinging to them with roots. This gives the plant the ability to receive oxygen from the moist air coming from the stream, but all the green parts are in a dry state.
All the anthuriums have one homeland – South and Central America. But because of the different conditions of growth, the size of the anthuriums and their appearance vary from species to species.
What does an anturium look like?
Anthuriums are very diverse, and most species do not have such a bright veil in the form of a scarlet heart, and the size of plants can be very modest, and truly gigantic.
Anthuriums are found in many areas of South and Central America. But as botanists say, the homeland of anthuriums with bright flowering is the western part of the Andes in the territory of Ecuador and Colombia. The remaining species are of interest not because of the brightness of the inflorescences, but rather because of foliage having the most bizarre shapes and sizes. However, for all anthuriums, there are common signs.
The majority of anthuriums have thick, often truncated stems, densely covered with scales from already dead leaves, air roots and foliage itself. It is interesting that leaves within the same genus may have a completely different shape, size and texture. In addition to heart-shaped or wedge-shaped, like the most common flowering anthuriums, leaves, one can find varieties with rounded, lanceolate, whole or dissected leaf blades. Leaves to the stems are attached with the help of long or very small petioles.
As the stalk grows, the anthurium gradually disappears, except for individual terrestrial species.
The size of the anthurium depends primarily on the leaf plates, which can reach a length of 15 cm to one and a half meters. As the forms and sizes of foliage are varied, so are the types of its surfaces. In addition to leathery and very dense leaves, like the Anthurium Andre, one can find both smooth elastic leaves and leaves with a velvety surface, like the anthurium of Crystal.
In conditions of dense forests where humidity is high, and it is important not to miss a single ray of the sun, the anthuriums have learned to turn the leaf plates so that they are always directed towards the star. Epiphytes living in drier conditions receive nutrition and moisture due to the conical shape of the rosette of leaves. Gradually, plant residues, humus particles, and the moisture necessary for the plant fall into it.
With the flowering of the anthurium, there is also a widespread misconception around the world. What many consider a large flower, in fact, is its inflorescence and a modified bright leaf, a bract. The same inflorescence is also a gentle spathiphyllum.
Inflorescence in the form of an ear, consisting of bisexual hardly distinguishable flowers, can be either a straight or a spiral shape, having the appearance of a cone or a rounded at the end of the cylinder. Color inflorescence varies from white, cream or yellowish to blue, purple or purple. As the maturation of some species of cob becomes green.
An anthurium’s anvil is surrounded not by a single large petal, but by a bract, which in fact is a leaf of a very unusual kind and color. Anthurium varieties for the house have such a large and decorative coverlet. And so the plant today is called a “lacquer” or “rainbow” flower. The name is very suitable for modern hybrids with bedspreads of not only one bright color, but combining two or three non-occurring shades.
But in the decorative-deciduous species, the bract is sometimes difficult to distinguish, which does not prevent plants from luring insect pollinators.
When the pollination process is completed, small spherical or oval fruits form on the ear. Inside the juicy berries is from 1 to 4 seeds, which in nature, in the homeland of anthuriums, are carried by birds and rodents.
Varieties and hybrids of anthurium for home
The popularity of the blooming anthurium species has led to the fact that the world is actively working on obtaining new varieties and spectacular hybrids. The breeders show their achievements not only on the shelves of shops, but also at flower shows, such as, for example, the annual festival of tropical plants Extravaganza under the patronage of the Princess of Wales.
As a result, stunning by its beauty and unusual appearance, plants grown by modern growers are strikingly different from the varieties that were once found in Anturium’s homeland, on the American continent.
The production of hybrids is associated with the pollination of one plant with pollen taken from another specimen. This operation is aimed at obtaining varieties with more bright and large inflorescences, beautiful leaves or other desired parameters of the breeder. To consolidate the result, it takes a long time and growing many generations of plants.
To reduce the time for development and selection, modern technologies that involve growing not from seeds, but from a tissue culture carrying all the information about the parent plant, allow modern technologies to be developed. Thanks to such complex biochemical operations today, the majority of the proposed trade in plants of anthuriums for home, garden and cuttings is obtained.
Thanks to such intensive work, there appeared anthuriums, the sizes of which are extremely convenient for growing at home, and also plants with bright unusual coloring. But scientific achievements and innovative technologies are not always used for the benefit of the florist.
Unfortunately, many commercial producers often use gibberellic acid or GA3 when growing anthuriums. This compound is a plant hormone that affects the quantity and quality of flowering, and also contributes to the rapid formation of inflorescences.
As a result of treatment with a similar chemical, the anthurium intended for the house, without developing, falls on the counter brightly blooming. Getting into the house, such specimens are difficult to tolerate acclimatization, and then they can disappoint, because they bloom more modestly than before the purchase.