Focus on Flora: Burle Marx philodendron

Focus on Flora: Burle Marx philodendron

Since February is the month of Valentine’s Day, it seems fitting to highlight another plant in the Philodendron genus with heart-shaped leaves. Burle Marx Philodendron, or Philodendron burle-marxii, was named after the famed late landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. There are currently more than 50 plants that he is credited with discovering, or that have been named after the world-renowned designer, artist, musician and ecologist.

Credited as the very first landscape architect to incorporate native plants into the modern landscape, Burle Marx’s works and exhibitions can be found all over the world, with arguably the most famous — The Copacabana Promenade — in his home country of Brazil.

A study of his landscape designs illustrates his love for the environment and especially the rainforests — which he called for preservation of early on in his career.

Burle Marx Philodendron is a perfect representation of all things rainforest. A relatively small shrub in stature — and climbing if given the chance — its glossy, deep green leaves are reminiscent of this lush and mysterious ecosystem.

Akin to most other rainforest plants, P. burle-marxii prefers bright, indirect light/semi-shade, which also makes it a great houseplant.

Burle Marx philodendron plant
Burle Marx philodendron

Preferring a well-drained soil, it is important to moderately water this plant. It does not like to have wet feet and is potentially susceptible to root rot if overwatered.

If planted outside, it will spread at a steady pace and is easy to propagate from cuttings.

Belonging to the Areceae family, commonly referred to as aroids, the whitish-yellow flower is borne on a spadix, usually encased by a spathe of similar colour. The spathe and spadix are known distinguishing characteristics of the Areceae family, and aroids in general.

Native to North Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, P. burle-marxii has become a staple of many landscapes in South America, Central America and across the Caribbean.

Burle Marx Philodendron can be found in Camana Bay near the north side of the Solaris parking garage.

This article was originally featured in the February 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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About the author

Shannon Schmidt is Operations and Horticulture Services Manager at Dart’s Arboretum Services Ltd. Joining Dart in 2012, Shannon previously worked in parks, public gardens and tourism properties, among others. Originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Shannon loves island life, spending time paddleboarding around the canals and mangroves, freediving in the sea, and spending time outdoors with her two energetic Boston Terriers Nollie and Ebbie and her equally energetic partner Chase! Shannon holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park and Tourism Management from The Pennsylvania State University and a Diploma in Horticulture from the Longwood Gardens Professional School of Horticulture.

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