Spoonflower, Beach Botany

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Spoonflower, Peltandra sagittifolia, is a rare species that thrives in wet soils. A perennial herbaceous monocot that have several stems that grow from deep fibrous roots. Leaf blades are alternate on the stems. Leaf shape is sagittate (arrowhead). Leaf length is about 8” to 10”. Width about  4” to 6”. Margins are wavy. Color is a dark green with several purplish spots. Overall height is 3’ to 4’.

Coming up through the middle of the plant is a peduncle (flower stalk) that is twice as high as the leaf stems. At the tip of the peduncle is a yellowish cylinder about 6” to 8” high. This is called a spadix which is the inflorescence. Behind the spadix is a whitish wide appendage a bit higher than the spadix. This is called a spathe. Sagittifolia is a monoecious plant with tiny unisexual male and female flowers. Male flowers with stamens occupy the upper portion of the spadix. Females with pistils are at the lower portion. Corollas are absent. With pollination, the females will produce red berries. Blooming occurs in the spring.

Habitats are swamps, marshes, and flood plain forests. Distribution is in the northern and central peninsula. There are only two species in the Genus Peltandra. Family is the ornamental Araceae (Arum). I found the specimen in the picture at the Box Tower nursery in Lake Wales.