Araceae Juss.

Pothos L.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is W. Indian Ocean, Tropical & Subtrop Asia to SW. Pacific.


CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

W. Indian Ocean, Trop. & Subtrop Asia to SW. Pacific.
Evergreen,climbing hemiepiphytes with tough woody stems; leaves distichous; petiole geniculate apically, broad, flattened, blade-like and lacking sheath, or normal with sheath (sometimes very reduced); leaf blade linear-lanceolate to elliptic, fine venation reticulate; spadix globose to cylindric, sessile to long-stipitate; flowers bisexual, periogoniate, densely or laxly arranged. Differs from Pedicellarum in having sessile flowers with free tepals (very rarely united basally). Differs from Pothoidium in having 3-locular ovaries and inflorescences always axillary.
Tropical humid forest; usually climbing hemiepiphytes often in regrowth forest, rarely on rocks.
General Description
HABIT : climbing herbs, stems rather woody, lower branches rooting, upper ones free and hanging, nodes rarely bearing short, clustered spines ( P. armatus), buds of lateral shoots sometimes perforating the leaf sheath or ± infra-axillary. LEAVES : distichous, juvenile plants of some species of shingle form (petiole very short, blades broad, appressed, partially overlapping). PETIOLE : geniculate (articulate) apically, either broad, completely flattened and usually auriculate apically, or morphology normal with a long sheath, sometimes sheath reduced to a pair of hyaline ridges (series Goniurus). BLADE linear-lanceolate to ovate or elliptic, sometimes oblique; primary lateral veins either mostly arising near base of blade, long arcuate, and running into marginal vein near apex, or primary lateral veins pinnate, weakly differentiated, forming submarginal collective vein, 1-2 marginal veins also present, higher order venation reticulate in all types. INFLORESCENCE : axillary or infra-axillary, solitary or forming short branching systems of several inflorescences, bearing 4-6 (sometimes more, e.g. P. insignis) rigid, coriaceous cataphylls at the base, often bearing the spathe near the middle of peduncular axis. PEDUNCLE : short to long, sometimes reflexed. SPATHE : ovate to linear, rarely very long ( P. mirabili s). SPADIX : globose, ovoid, cylindric, ellipsoid or obovoid, sessile to long-stipitate, densely or laxly flowered. FLOWERS : bisexual, perigoniate; tepals 4-6, usually fornicate, free or partially to completely connate (e.g . P. rumphii). STAMENS : 4-6, filaments oblong, flattened, connective slender, thecae ellipsoid, dehiscing by slit. POLLEN : monosulcate, ellipsoid-oblong, small (mean 21 µm., range 16-25 µm.), exine foveolate to reticulate or subrugulate, muri psilate or minutely tuberculate. GYNOECIUM : ovary ovoid-oblong or depressed, (2?-)3-locular; ovules 1 per locule, anatropous, funicle short, placenta axile at base of septum, stylar region sometimes as broad as ovary, stigma discoid-hemispheric to umbonate. BERRY : ellipsoid to ovoid, 1-3-seeded, red. SEED : ellipsoid, testa smooth, embryo large, endosperm absent.

Doubtfully present in:


Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, China South-Central, China Southeast, Comoros, East Himalaya, Hainan, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Madagascar, Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicobar Is., Philippines, Queensland, Seychelles, Solomon Is., Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Himalaya

Pothos L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Boyce, P.C. [1207], Thailand 60246.000 No
Deden, G. [863], Indonesia K000501409 No

First published in Sp. Pl.: 968 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Boyce, P.C. (2009). A review of Pothos L. (Araceae: Pothoideae: Pothoeae) for Thailand Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) 37: 15-26.
  • 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.

  • Art and Illustrations in Digifolia

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • 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.