The genus Anthurium represents the largest group of species in this family. With over 600 species that originate in the New World tropics, and was described by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott, Director of the Imperial Gardens at Vienna, in 1857. Schott was the earliest botanist to specialise almost exclusively in the Araceae. The species has neotropical distribution; mostly in wet tropical mountain forest of Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama, but some in semi-arid environments. Most species occur in Brazil and the Guiana Shield.
The genus name Anthurium is derived from the Greek words ‘anthos’ that means “flower,” and oura, that means “tail.” The plant has a lot of optional names. Among the popular ones are painter’s palette, flamingo flower, and tail flower. On the other hand Anthurium Andraeanum is grown by the acre in Hawaii for its long lasting cut flower and has become one of the symbols associated with Hawaii.
Famingo flower has spreading, oblong to elliptic, leathery leaves, up to 25 cm long and 8 cm wide. The leaf blades are held on a petiole (leaf stalk) up to 20 cm long. Both sides of the leaf blade are dotted with minute dark glands. The large, showy spathe (8 to 10 cm long) is scarlet to orange-red and broadly oval. The orange-red spadix is usually coiled upward and may be up to 8 cm long. Euglossine bees are possible pollinators. The fruits are usually berries with one to multiple seeds on an infructescence that may be pendant or erect depending on species. Anthurium berries may range in colour from bright red to black, and may also be bicoloured or shaded. The flowers of Anthurium give off a variety of fragrances, each attracting a variety of specific pollinators. Some species have been introduced into Asian rain forests, but are not endemic. Cultivars of this species include Anthurium scherzerianum ‘Album’ with a white spathe and yellow spadix, ‘Rothschildianum’ with a densely white-dotted spathe and ‘Wardii’ with a large ruby-red spathe and long red spadix.
Anthuriums were historically grown in the shade of cocoa and citrus in producing regions such as Trinidad and Tobago. Today, plants are grown intensively under cover and are often multiplied using micro – propagation techniques. The inflorescences are graded for the cut flower industry according to the width of the spathe. Some species of Anthurium are used traditionally in medicine or to perfume tobacco. The Flamingo flower likes tropical weather, but it may also tolerate the winter season as long as it’s held above sixty five degrees, however the best temperature for it is 75 to eighty-five degrees. It prefers high humidity and a good amount of moisture, but you should be careful of standing water, which can cause root rot.
Anthurium take an important place among the top 10 cut flowers at the Netherlands Auction Trade. The Netherlands is the country which is a main provider of tails flowers all over the world. Anthuriums became fashionable as house plants during the nineteenth century. They are prized for their showy appearance and the longevity of cut stalks in water, which may last up to eight weeks. Numerous hybrids and cultivars of Anthurium scherzerianum have been developed for both these characteristics.