Araceae Juss.

Dieffenbachia hammelii Croat & Grayum

This species is accepted, and its native range is SE. Nicaragua to N. Costa Rica.


CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

The species is characterized by its small stature, typically 25-40 cm; its glossy, decumbent, subrhizomatous stems; weakly sheathed, matte-drying petioles (sheath decurrent at apex); and moderately small, more or less oblong-elliptic, weakly inequilateral green leaf blades with moderately numerous primary lateral veins.
Flowering plants of D. hammelii have been seen from March through May and also July, while mature fruits have been seen in August and September. Cultivated plants at the Missouri Botanical Garden flowered in mid July and mid October.
In the Tropical wet forest (T-wf) life zone (Holdridge, 1967), in wet forests and swampy areas on the Atlantic slope.
Dieffenbachia hammelii occurs in southeastern Nicaragua (Dpto. Rio San Juan) and northern Costa Rica.
General Description
Small herb, 25-40(70) cm tall; sap not foul- smelling; stem becoming decumbent and subrhi- zomatous at base; internodes 1-1.5(2.7) cm long, on lower portions, 3.5-7.5 cm long toward the apex, 0.5-2 cm diam., glossy, dark blackish green, drying yellowish brown to gray-green, weakly striate. LEAVES erect-arching; petioles 7-25(35) cm long (averaging 15 cm long), erect, green or mottled with dull yellow-green, drying greenish to sometimes yellowish brown, surfacing drying matt, sheathing for (0.3)0.4-0.8 the petiole length (averaging 0.63 their, length), sheath 5.5-13 cm long (averaging 8 cm); unsheathed portion 1-9 cm long, rarely to 15 cm long, narrowly C-shaped to D-shaped in cross section, narrowly sulcate adaxially, with margins finely acute, the tip narrowly decurrent, sometimes difficult to discern where it ends; blades narrowly to broadly elliptical oblanceolate, 9-28 x 3.2-13(15) cm (averaging 19.5 x 7.5 cm), 1.7-3.4 times longer than wide (averaging 2.7 times longer, than wide, 1.1-1.5 times longer than the petiole; equilateral to slightly inequilateral, one side 0.5-1 cm wider than the other (the narrower side usually plane, the wider side usually minutely undulate), weakly to semiglossy, acuminate, narrowly to broadly acute or attenuate at apex, and equilateral or slightly inequilateral, rarely obtuse at base, thinly coriaceous, slightly to moderately bicolorous; upper surface medium to dark green, weakly glossy to semiglossy, drying light yellow-green to dark brown; lower surface weakly glossy to matte, slightly to moderately paler, drying yellow-green, sometimes yellow-brown; midrib flat-raised, rarely convex (sometimes obscurely sulcate medially), 1-3 mm diam., slightly paler than surface above, convex to narrowly convex below, drying pale brown, matte, with short, white raphide cells; prirnary lateral veins 9 to 17 per side, departing midrib at a 40°-50° angle, weakly curved to the margins, weakly sunk- en or slightly raised in weak valleys, weakly quilted and concolorous above, convex and weakly pleated- raised7 drying moderately inconspicuous, slightly darker than surface or slightly paler than surface below; the interprimary veins almost as conspicuous as primary lateral veins; minor veins darker than surface below, drying moderately faint; "cross- veins" darker than surface below, drying moderately faint. INFLORESCENCES 1 to 3 per axil; peduncle 4.5-11 cm long, subterete in cross section; spathe (8)10-16 cm long, 1.3-2.7 times longer than peduncle, medium green throughout, and weakly glossy outside, medium green and glossy inside, cuspidate to acuminate at apex; spathe tube 6.5- 12.5 cm long, 1.2-2.3 cm diam., free portion 3-6 cm wide when flattened; spadix 6.5-15.5 cm long; free portion 4.7-7.5 cm long; pistillate portion 5- 8.5 cm long, 6-7 mm diam. throughout, fused with spathe for up to 4 cm; fertile staminate portion ta- pered to both ends, moderately acute at apex, (1.7)3-4.5 cm long, 6-7 mm diam. throughout; ster- ile intermediate segment (0.8)2-3 cm long, with a few scattered staminodia throughout; pistils 26 to 43, ovoid, sparse to moderately dense, loosely scattered in clusters of 2 to 4 with up to 3 across the width of spadix but often with spaces between the groups of pistils up to twice the width of the spadix, sometimes in a spiral with up to 5 to 6 pistils; ovaries l-1ocular, 2.4 mm long, 2.4 mm diam.; stigmas 1.6-1.8 mm diam.; staminodia 2.8-3 mm long, up to twice as long as pistils, free from one another at base, thickened at both ends, white at apex, but often translucent midway and drying flattened and very thin; synandrium bluntly 4- to S-sided, mar- gins irregularly shaped toward the base, + rounded at apex, 2-2.5 mm diam. INFRUSCTESCENCE with spathe pale orange outside; spadix 22 cm long; berries orange to bright red, obovoid-ellipsoid, 1 cm long, 8 mm diam.

Native to:

Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Dieffenbachia hammelii Croat & Grayum appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 1986 Grayum, M.H. [7670], Costa Rica K000524990 isotype

First published in Novon 9: 496 (1999 publ. 2000)

Accepted by

  • Croat, T. (2004). Revision of Dieffenbachia (Araceae) of Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 91: 668-772.
  • 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.
  • Hammel, B.E. & al. (2003). Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica 2: 1-694. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
  • Stevens, W.D., Ulloa U., C., Pool, A. & Montiel, O.M. (2001). Flora de Nicaragua Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 85: i-xlii, 1-2666. Missouri Botanical Garden.


CATE Araceae

  • Croat, T. 2004. Revision of Dieffenbachia (Araceae) of Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard.. 91 (4): 668-772

  • 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.

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  • 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.