Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Syngonium podophyllum
Schott, Araceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 15 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: African evergreen, arrowhead vine, emerald jewel, goosefoot, nephthytis

Pohnpeian: selkesingketieu

Habit:  vine

Description:  "Juvenile plant with stems slightly glaucous; petioles sheathed 1/2-2/3 their length; blades simple, cordate, 7-14 cm long, becoming sagittate or hastate, acuminate at the apex, the anterior lobe somewhat constricted at the base, the posterior lobes usually more or less triangular, directed downward or prominently outward; blades on climbing plants 12-27 cm long.  Adult plants with stems sometimes glaucous, sap milky; internodes 2.8-14.5 cm long, 0.5-3.5 cm wide (dry); petioles 15-60 cm long, sometimes glaucous, sheathed 2/3 their length (the sheath free-ending), rounded to obtusely angular above the sheath; blades pedatisect, the surface dark green above, pale below (sometimes glaucescent in South America); leaflets 3-11, united to free; lowermost leaflet variously ariculate at the base, the auricles oblong to oblong-elliptic to broadly elliptic; median leaflet obovate to broadly elliptic, abruptly acuminate at the apex, broadly or narrowly decurrent at the base, 16-38 cm long, 6-17 cm wide; rachis usually angular on blades with more than 3 segments; primary lateral veins 3-4 (-7) pairs on the median leaflet, sunken above, prominently raised beneath; collective veins 2 or 3; tertiary veins all distinct.  Inflorescences 4-11 per axil; peduncle sometimes glaucous somewhat compressed laterally, erect and usually less than 9 cm long at anthesis, pendent, to 13 cm long in fruit; spathe 9-11 cm long; spathe tube sometimes glaucous, narrowly ovoid to ellipsoid, 3-4 cm long, 1.8-2 cm diam., green inside and out; spathe blade greenish white to creamy white or sometimes yellow (in South America) (sometimes green outside and creamy white inside), 6-7.5 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, long-cuspidate at the apex; pistillate portion of the spadix 1-2 cm long, 6-9 mm diam., greenish cream, the flowers irregularly (5-) 6 (-7) sided, adherent, the stigma discoid-capitate, sometimes 2- or 3-lobed; staminate portion of the spadix 4-7 cm long, 7-15 mm diam., cream, the synandrium with anthers usually 4, cross-shaped, 3.5-4 mm wide, partially or completely fused. Infructescences red to reddish orange or yellow (rarely brown) at maturity; syncarp ovoid, brownish, scruffy with darker brown flecks, 3-5 (-7) cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm wide; seeds many, ovoid, 7-11 mm long, 5-7 mm wide, black or brown, enveloped in a soft, grayish, sweet, pulpy mesocarp"  (Croat, 1981; pp. 585-651).

Similar species: Syngonium angustatum Schott

See description for Syngonium angustatum and key to the two species below:

S. podophyllum var. podophyllum:  "Stems glaucous (at least in northern Central America), smooth, lacking any emergences; leaf segments usually somewhat unequal, not of relatively uniform size and shape; petioles subterete or with only an obtuse medial rib; staminate flowers truncate at the apex with an indication of the line of fusion; Mexico to Panama" (Croat, 1981).

S. angustatum:  "Stems not glaucous, sometimes with numerous rough emergences; leaf segments usually slender, of nearly equal size and shape; petioles subterete, usually with a sharp medial rib; rachis usually gradually curved, not angular between each segment; staminate flowers deeply retuse at the apex, showing no indication of the line of fusion; Mexico to Costa Rica"  (Croat, 1981).

Habitat/ecology:  Climbing epiphyte. Grows under shady conditions. Prefers moist, fertile soil.

Propagation:  Mostly, if not exclusively, vegetative

Native range:  Mexico to Brazil (Whistler, 2000; pp. 437-438). A common household plant.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (pp. 6, 13)
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (pp. 6, 12)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 94)
As Syngonium angustatum
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Denslow, Julie S./Nelson, Duane/Waguk, Erick E. (2000) (p. 5)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy (2010) (p. 6)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 94)
As Syngonium angustatum
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 35)
Voucher cited: D. H. Lorence 9961 (PTBG)
Naturalized
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
Voucher cited: D. H. Lorence, W. L. Wagner 6262 (PAP, PTBG, US)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1988) (voucher ID: PTBG 8892)
Taxon name on voucher: Syngonium podophyllum Schott
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1980) (voucher ID: PTBG 22949)
Taxon name on voucher: Syngonium podophyllum Schott
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Oppenheimer, Hank L. (2006) (p. 10)
West Maui. Voucher cited: Oppenheimer, R. Bartlett & G. Hansen H80307 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank (2011) (p. 6)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H70914 (BISH, PTBG)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: MacKee 22371
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 6)
Vouchers: Flynn 6678 (PTBG, MO, NIUE), Flynn 6697 (PTBG, MO)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 13)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2000) (voucher ID: PTBG 30206)
Taxon name on voucher: Syngonium podophyllum Schott
Niue
Niue
Niue Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2000) (voucher ID: PTBG 30197)
Taxon name on voucher: Syngonium podophyllum Schott
Palau
Kayangel Atoll
Kayangel Islet introduced
invasive
Miles, Joel (2015) (p. 2)
ref cites other taxa as "Cultivated," but not this one, so implication is that this taxon was found in a non-cultivated situation (PT@PhilipT.com/20170602)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands introduced
cultivated
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 111)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Sand Island introduced
cultivated
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd (2008) (pp. B-14)
Voucher cited: Starr & Starr 080610-02
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 300)
Ornamental.
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 83)
Naturalised
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island introduced
cultivated
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 128)
Species uncertain.
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  Plants not specifically identified as S. angustatum or S. podophyllum are listed under Syngonium angustatum.

Control: 

Physical:  Physical removal is very difficult but can be effective if done repeately for a long period.  All pieces must be properly disposed of or they will resprout"  (Englberger, 2009; p. 12).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 16 OCT 2004 and was last updated on 27 OCT 2009.