Araceae Juss.

Spathiphyllum Schott

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Mexico to Tropical America, Malesia, W. Pacific.


CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

Tropical humid forest, rarely cloud forest; forest floor, in wet sites, sometimes on rocks in streams, rarely hemiepiphytic ( S. solomonens e).
General Description
Trichosclereids present. HABIT : evergreen herbs usually with short, erect to creeping stem, appearing acaulescent, sometimes stoloniferous, occasionally erect and climbing. LEAVES : several. PETIOLE : geniculate apically, sheath long. BLADE : oblong to elliptic or narrowly elliptic, cuspidate-acuminate; primary lateral veins pinnate, running into marginal vein, secondary and tertiary laterals parallel-pinnate, higher order venation transverse-reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : solitary. PEDUNCLE : subequal to or longer than petiole. SPATHE : oblong, elliptic, ovate or obovate, cuspidate-acuminate, ± decurrent at insertion, membranaceous to subcoriaceous, fully expanded, rarely fornicate or clasping, persistent, with distinct midrib and pinnate primary lateral veins, usually white, rarely green, turning green in fruit. SPADIX : usually stipitate, rarely sessile, stipe often partially adnate to spathe, spadix cylindric, erect, shorter than spathe. FLOWERS : bisexual, perigoniate; tepals 4-6, free, fornicate and almost truncate at apex, or partly or completely connate into a truncate cup. STAMENS : 4-6, filaments short, oblong, flattened, connective slender, thecae oblong-ellipsoid to ovoid, dehiscing by longitudinal slit. POLLEN : inaperturate, ellipsoid to ellipsoid-oblong, medium-sized (mean 32 µm., range 27-41 µm.), exine striate. GYNOECIUM : ovoid, subcylindric, obovoid or flask-shaped, ovary 3-locular, more rarely 2- or 4-locular, ovules 2, 4, 6 or 8 per locule, anatropous to hemianatropous, placenta axile, stylar region usually long, conic and long-exserted beyond perigone, sometimes shortly attenuate, sometimes ± truncate and not exserted and inconspicuous, stigma 2-3-lobed or subcapitate to punctiform. BERRY : rounded, ovoid to obovoid, or conically attenuate apically, 1-8-seeded, greenish. SEED : oblong, ellipsoid to ovoid or slightly curved and ± reniform, pale yellow to brown, funicle short, testa sparsely foveolate, otherwise smooth or verrucose, embryo axile, elongate, slightly curved, endosperm copious.
Mexico to Trop. America, Malesia, W. Pacific.
Evergreen herbs with short, erect to creeping stem; tissues with small trichosclereids occurring in bundles; petiole geniculate apically, sheath long; leaf blade oblong to elliptic, fine venation parallel pinnate; flowers bisexual, perigoniate, tepals free or connate into truncate cup. Differs from Holochlamys in persistent, widely spreading, usually white spathe, and free or connate tepals ( Holochlamys always has connate tepals), 2-4-locular ovary, and axile placentation.

Native to:

Belize, Bismarck Archipelago, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Caroline Is., Central American Pac, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Maluku, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, New Guinea, Nicaragua, Panamá, Peru, Philippines, Solomon Is., Sulawesi, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela

Introduced into:

Bangladesh, Comoros, Cook Is., Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuelan Antilles

Spathiphyllum Schott appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
29047.080 No
34593.000 No
Mason, L.M. 37536.000 No

First published in H.W.Schott & S.L.Endlicher, Melet. Bot.: 22 (1832)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


CATE Araceae

  • Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. 1997. The genera of Araceae. 370 pp.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2008. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • CATE Araceae

    Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Science Photographs

    Copyright applied to individual images