The history of some plants, cultivated by man, has several millennia. Acquaintance with anthuriums, as one of the genera of the Aroid family, began only a century and a half ago, but during this time many myths and sometimes stable delusions have formed around the plants.
One of the most often heard opinions concerns the origin of anthurium and is that the lush species is native to the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. Indeed, getting into this paradise of the world one cannot help wondering at the diversity of the plant world, in which anturiums occupy one of the main places.
Today it is this culture that is considered the “heart of Hawaii”, a symbol and a local talisman. On the islands, there is a mass of the brightest and most unusual hybrids, but, contrary to the myth that Hawaiians themselves believe in, the homeland of anthurium is not at all here.
Where is Anthurium's birthplace?
The discovery of one of the largest genera of the plant world took place in 1876, when a botanist-enthusiast from France, Edouard Andre, traveling in South America, did not find one of the anthurium specimens right outside his window. An unprecedented plant was shipped to Europe, where the cloister of the misty forests of Colombia was described and received the name Anthurium andreanum.
A plant with green foliage and erect peduncles topped with cob blossoms and red bracts has been widely distributed throughout Colombia and in northern Ecuador. These places can be considered the birthplace of anthurium and a kind of center for the spread of culture throughout the world.
One of the first places where anthuriums came at the behest of Europeans was Hawaii. In 1889, Samuel Damon, who was engaged in missionary activity, brought an unusual flowering plant to the islands. He did a lot for the region and even became Minister of Finance of the Republic.
Another misconception about what plants can be called anthurium. Unfortunately, most flower growers consider only Anthurium andreanum and Anthurium scherzerianum with decorative bright inflorescences to the genus. This is not true.
It turns out that not only plants with a recognizable bright veil but other closely related species inhabit the territory of South and Central America.
They are included in the genus Anthurium and are of interest to all plant lovers, including those who are engaged in indoor crops. Flowering anthuriums, both at home and around the world, have become fashionable indoor and garden plants, they are valued for their visual appeal and durability even for cut inflorescences that retain their freshness from 2 to 8 weeks.
Today, according to the most modest estimates of scientists, the Anturium family, whose range extends to the subtropical and tropical regions of the Americas from Mexico to Paraguay, includes 800 species. And in 2010, botanists announced about 1000 species of anthuriums and the need to continue the comprehensive study of the flora of America.
seeds. Anthuriums are widely distributed in the Andes and Cordillera covered with forests. Here, plants prefer to grow roots at altitudes up to 3.5 km above sea level. Moreover, among the inhabitants of the humid tropics and land plants, and epiphytes, as well as species occupying an intermediate niche. Such anthuriums, starting their century on the lower tier of the forest, gradually, with the help of roots and shoots, rise higher to the sun. Below, in savannas with a drier climate, it is also possible to find anturiums, perfectly adapted to this way of life.
Video about anthurium will acquaint with the peculiarities of plants, their habitats and tell about varieties suitable for home cultivation.
The adaptability of all types of anthuriums is extremely high. They settled the soil remarkably, some species are epiphytes. Anthurium rosettes look like small and big nests on the trunks and branches of trees. In this case, the plants are not parasites. They do not take juices and food from the species in which they are entrenched, but feed on small deposits of organic matter and atmospheric moisture and oxygen.
The only environment that did not submit to the plant is water.
Despite the prevailing opinion about anthurium's love for moisture and even the ability to grow it in an aquarium, none of the studied species can adapt to life in water.
For example, Anthurium amnicola grows on coastal stones, clinging tightly to their roots. This gives the plant the ability to get oxygen from the humid air coming from the stream, but all the green parts are dry.
All anthuriums have one homeland - South and Central America. But due to the different growing conditions, the sizes of anthuriums and their appearance vary considerably from species to species.
What does anthurium look like?
Anthuriums are very diverse, with most species not having such a bright scarlet in the shape 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 birthplace of bright-flowering anthuriums is the western part of the Andes in Ecuador and Colombia. The remaining species are of interest not because of the brightness of the inflorescences, but, rather, thanks to the foliage, which has the most bizarre shapes and sizes. However, common signs are inherent in all anthuriums.
Most anthuriums have thick, often shortened stems, densely covered with scales from already dead leaves, aerial roots and the foliage itself. Interestingly, the leaves within the same genus may have a completely different shape, size and texture. In addition to the heart-shaped or wedge-shaped, as in the most common flowering anthuriums, leaves, varieties with rounded, lanceolate, whole or dissected leaf plates can be found. The leaves are attached to the stems with long or very small petioles.
As the anthurium grows, the stem gradually becomes bare, with the exception of some terrestrial species.
The size of an anthurium primarily depends on the leaf plates, which can reach lengths from 15 cm to one and a half meters. As the shapes and sizes of foliage are diverse, so are the types of its surfaces. In addition to leathery and very dense leaves, like Andre Anthurium, you can find smooth elastic leaves, as well as leaves with a velvety surface, like Crystal Anthurium.
In conditions of dense forests, where humidity is high, and it is important not to miss a single ray of the sun, anturiums have learned to turn leaf plates so that they are always directed at the light. Epiphytes inhabiting more dry conditions receive nourishment and moisture due to the cone-shaped rosette of leaves. Plant residues, particles of humus, and moisture necessary for the plant gradually get into it.
A common misconception is also associated with the flowering of anthurium. What many consider to be a large flower, in fact, is its inflorescence and a modified bright leaf, bract. The same inflorescence is a gentle spathiphyllum.
An inflorescence in the shape of a cob, consisting of bisexual subtle flowers, can be either straight or spiral-shaped, in the form of a cone or rounded at the end of a cylinder. The color of the inflorescence varies from white, cream or yellowish to blue, purple or violet. As some species mature, the cob turns green.
The ear of anthurium is surrounded not by a single large petal, but by a bract that is actually a leaf, albeit of a very unusual look and color. The varieties of anthurium for the home is a rather large and decorative cover. And so the plant today is called "lacquer" or "rainbow" flower. The name is very suitable for modern hybrids with blankets not only of one bright color, but combining two or three shades not found in nature.
But in the ornamental-deciduous species, the bract is sometimes completely difficult to distinguish, which does not prevent the plants from luring in to pollinating insects.
When the pollination process is completed, small spherical or oval fruits are formed on the cob. Inside the juicy berries are from 1 to 4 seeds, which in nature, in the homeland of anthuriums, are spread by birds and rodents.
Anthurium varieties and hybrids for home
The popularity of the blooming anthurium species has led to the fact that the whole world is actively working on obtaining new varieties and spectacular hybrids. Breeders present their achievements not only at stores, but also at flower exhibitions, such as, for example, the annual festival of tropical plants Extravaganza under the patronage of the Princess of Wales.
As a result, the plants stunning with their beauty and unusual appearance, grown by modern growers, are very different from the varieties that were once found in the homeland of anthurium, in the Americas.
Hybrid production is associated with pollination of one plant by pollen taken from another specimen. Such an operation is aimed at obtaining varieties with brighter and larger buds, beautiful leaves or other desired breeder parameters. To consolidate the result, it takes a lot of time and growing many generations of plants.
Reduce the time for development and selection allows modern technologies that involve growing not from seeds, but from tissue culture that carries all the information about the mother plant. Thanks to such complex biochemical operations, today most of the anthuriums offered for the home, garden and cutting are offered.
Thanks to such intensive work, anthuriums have appeared, whose dimensions are extremely convenient for growing at home, as well as plants with a bright unusual color. But scientific achievements and innovative technologies are not always used for the benefit of the grower.
Unfortunately, many commercial producers often use gibberellic acid or GA3 for growing anthuriums. This compound is a plant hormone that affects the quantity and quality of flowering, as well as contributing to the rapid formation of inflorescences.
As a result of processing with a similar chemical, the anthurium intended for the home, without developing, falls on the counter brightly in bloom. Once in the house, such instances are difficult to tolerate acclimatization, and then may be disappointing, because they bloom much more modestly than before the purchase.