I have compiled a list of some of the velvetiest aroids there are. Not velvet Evlises, velvet aroids. When I speak of velvet aroids, the main criteria is the feel of the leaves. Some people describe a wide range of textures as being “velvety,” while others notice small differences in the textures that make them more “satiny” or more like velour. The feel of the most velvety aroids is made possible due to tiny hairs which reside on the upper leaf surface. Botanically speaking, this is referred to as velutinous (velvety) adaxial (upper) surfaces.
Most of my blog posts include pictures of my own plants, or at least pictures that I took while visiting some place with nice plants. This post is an exception. A majority of the pictures are being used, with permission, from various friends in the International Aroid Society. Many of these are from Enid Offolter, of NSE Tropicals. (By the way, Enid probably has the best selection of these plants available for sale.) Since I don’t own many of these plants, I have to rely on other people’s pictures and descriptions for classifying them as velvety or something similar. Which brings me to the secondary criteria for being on my velvet aroids list – which is appearance. Most (but not all) of these plants have an iridescence when you look at the leaves, due to their velvetiness. It is very prominent on some plants. Sometimes this feature doesn’t always show up well in photographs, but there are quite a few photographs where you can see this.
I decided that I would concentrate on two genera only for this post – Anthurium and Philodendron. There are certainly other aroids with velvety textures, although I do believe the most velvety aroids are from these two genera. I have mentioned others at the end, but I know that when I depart from these two genera, I have no chance of being comprehensive, especially with the gazillion cultivars of Colocasia and Caladium, which are somewhat velvety.
I should also mention that some of these plants change texture with maturity. For instance, Philodendron hederaceum is quite velvety in juvenile form, but eventually becomes glossy. Other species only attain the velvety texture when they reach maturity. Many times it is difficult to tell the differences in these different species, hybrids and cultivars, especially when you are switching back and forth between different websites. It is a little easier to compare them here, with them all pictured together. That was part of my impetus for writing this post. In some cases, seeing their pictures side by side makes you wonder how they are different species! (see Anthurium crystallinum and Anthurium clarinervium) But there are distinct differences as you train your eye and begin to look at other parts of the plant, beyond the shape and colors of the leaves. Enid Offolter has some expertise and tells me that the cross section of the petioles (3, 4 or 5 sided) can tell you a lot about these two plants and the various hybrids. There is a really good discussion (with photos) about identifying the differences between Anthurium angamarcanum and Anthurium marmoratum here.
And now, on to the list…
If you clicked on that link above, you have already seen some photos of individual leaves of Anthurium angamarcanum, but below you can see a mature plant in all its glory. Beautiful.
I am not really familiar with this plant and haven’t heard of anyone growing it in cultivation. I only found a couple of websites with information on this plant. Since one of them is Tropicos, I know that it is a valid species.
This species is very hard for me to separate from Anthurium crystallinum (lower down in the post). So, how do I know which one is which? Well, here’s my method. If the veins on the leaves are so vibrantly white/gold that they are burning your retinas… that’s clarinervium. (Did you click that link? I did warn you.) If the veins are vibrant but your retinas aren’t in pain, more likely crystallinum.
This Anthurium has special leaves. They look like the skin of an elephant in their rough texture. At the same time, they look soft. See what I mean? There is a plant in the Alocasia genus with similar looking leaves, but they are very stiff and not velvety. That plant is Alocasia ‘Maharani.’
This is one of the few velvet plants that I own. I just bought it at the IAS show and sale in Miami last September. It is still a small plant, but it will one day be a huge and beautiful specimen (if I can keep it alive and happy). It definitely does not loose it’s velvetiness with maturity. In fact, this is probably one of those plants which becomes more velvety with age.
Sometimes this plant produces leaves with a closed sinus. The sinus is the upper opening on the heart-shape. A picture of Anthurium crystallinum with a closed sinus is shown on the Exotic Rainforest website, here.
As far as I understand, this plant is a cultivar of the species Anthurium crystallinum. That just means that there were some desirable traits of a certain plant and it was propagated (probably cloned via tissue culture) so that all of the offspring would have the same traits. It is usually just labeled Anthurium ‘Mehani’, but should really be labeled Anthurium crystallinum ‘Mehani.’
This plant is very uncommon in cultivation, but I did find a couple of nice photos.
This is not a common plant in cultivation and it looks very similar to some of the other velvet Anthuriums. I am told this one is more of a satiny texture.
According to Deni Brown’s book “Aroids: plants of the Arum family”, this might not be a species, but a naturally occurring hybrid. For the time being it is given species status. Here are a couple of links with some information on this plant: World Field Guide, Araceum.
This is one of those plants that is a little more satiny than velvety, I am told.
This Anthurium has large leaves whose leaves are strongly iridescent.
This plant blows me away. Check out those dark leaves with such an interesting shape. Very cool.
This is one of those plants that might be better described as satiny, as opposed to velvety. It certainly looks that way from the picture.
This is one of the more common velvet Anthuriums in cultivation (not that any of them are really common). It looks very similar to A. crystallinum, A. clarinervium and A. magnificum. The main difference in appearance, that I notice, is that the sinus of A. regale is considerably wider than any of the others. One of Steve Lucas’s photos has been immortalized on the latest International Aroid Society promotional brochures.
This is another of the strap-leaf, pendent Anthuriums. It has satiny leaves of a silver-blue-green color. There are also some really nice pictures of strap-leaved Anthuriums at the Palm Talk forum here.
This beautiful Anthurium is known for it’s long and slender leaves with velvet texture. It has been given the common name “Queen Anthurium”, while Anthurium veitchii is known as the “King Anthurium.” While both of these plants have long, slender leaves, the King Anthurium has a slick, glossy texture to the dark leaves.
Anthurium ‘Ace of Spades’
This plant is presumed to be a hybrid, but the parentage is unknown. The hybrid is believed to have originated in Hawaii and that’s about all we know. The most prominent characteristic is the bronze/red leaves, which you can see in each of the following images.
Anthurium ‘Dark Mama’ (Anth. warocqueanum x. Anth. papillilaminum)
This hybrid is the offspring of a set of velvety Anthuriums, resulting in a really unique leaf shape and great, dark color. Look at the iridescence showing up on that lower right leaf. Beautiful.
This plant is of unknown origin. It might be a species or it could be a naturally occurring hybrid. It has large, satiny leaves and what appears to be raised primary veins on the adaxial (upper) leaf surface.
This is another Anthurium hybrid of unknown parentage. It came from a notable grower in India.
Anthurium hybrid (Anth. magnificum x. Anth. crystallinum)
Of all the pictures in this post, I think this one is the most striking. This is quite a unique hybrid. The most recent plant sold for $52.50 on eBay!
This post continues, so please click on the “2” below.