Epipremnum aureum

(Linden & André) G.S. Bunting 1964

The botanists returned to the name E. aureum because it differs from the green-leaved E. pinnatum in the shape of pre-adult leaves and less frequent blooming. I will not argue with the scientists, however I'm a little sceptic in relation to the name E. aureum as a separate species, because I have seen many cultivars of other genera of Araceae, like Syngonium podophyllum, Spathiphyllum or Zantedeschia. Normally Zantedeschia aethiopica never has spotted leaves, but its cultivars do have. The species Syngonium podophyllum never has red tinted leaves, its cultivars have. The red pigment occurs in the inflorescences of S. podophyllum and during selective cultivation the breeders managed to make the plants show red colour also on leaves. Leaves of many cultivars of Syngonium podophyllum retain the juvenile shape even when a plant is a few years old. The same could be with Epipremnum aureum. It has been cultivated and selected for more than a hundred years. The difference in the leaf shape is a non-important detail comparing for example what the gardeners did to Aglaonema, Caladium or Dieffenbachia. They shortened the internodes, petioles and made the leaf blades very decorative of their colours. The same could be done to the spontaneous variegated mutation of Epipremnum pinnatum, that was doubtfully found in the wild centuries ago in Solomon Islands, then sent to plant collectors and gardeners. Through years they could aim to make the variegated E. pinnatum more compact, with shorter internodes and thicker leaves, to make it look pleasantly for average plant lovers, not botanists. The thicker leaves mean that the plants are less sensitive to the dry air at homes. It is obvious that variegated forms of plants bloom less frequently than its all-green ancestors. It is caused by a partial lack of chlorophyll brought possibly by a viral infection. More to add - an intermediate form of E. aureum exists with longer, non-variegated leaves.

This aroid is also incorrectly known as Scindapsus aureus and Rhaphidophora aurea.

A form with all-green leaves.
Juvenile plants and their leaves.
photos (1-6) © Taylor Holzer
photo © Katarzyna Górnisiewicz 2008, Denver Botanic Garden
(1-3) Palmiarnia Zielona Góra, Poland © Marek Argent
photo © Mark Ferdschneider
photo © Bartosz T. Zalewski
L'Illustration Horticole 1880-05-01
When it grows on a coconut-fiber stake,
it roots in it and the leaves increase in size.

The IAS: E. pinnatum 'Aureum'
Tropicos: Epipremnum aureum
Exotic Rainforest: Epipremnum aureum
CATE Araceae: Epipremnum aureum
Wikipedia: Epipremnum aureum
page created on 2002-04-10
last updated on 2013-01-19