Theme: Plant Reproduction
What would you do if you were surrounded by clones?
If that sounds like your worst nightmare, being a heartleaf philodendron is not for you. These romantically named vines look sweet with their heart-shaped leaves. But they don’t wait around for a soulmate to start propagating.
Heartleaf philodendrons are legion.
Heartleaf philodendrons are stolons. Stolons are vines that slither along the ground, sprouting baby leaves and aerial roots from nodes at regular intervals. Like grasping fingers, the aerial roots creep out from the nodes to anchor into dirt and latch onto trees. The leaves stretch up and out, hoping to catch a mouthful of air and sunshine.
As the nodes along the vine put down their roots and reach out their leaves, they become a chain of identical clones that can continue growing independent of the mother plant. Together, the mother and her baby clones are called a genet.
Aren’t these babies adorable?
(Top left) A new bud pokes out like a spike from a node. At the bottom of the “spike,” the nub of an aerial root is barely visible.
Not quite ready to come out.
(Top right) The new leaf is just starting to sprout. The early stages of aerial roots are clearly visible at two nodes.
Is it twins?
(Bottom left) Two leaves are curled up together inside the sheath.
She looks just like her mama!
(Bottom right) The top leaf has almost completely burst free from its casing. Just the bottom tip of the heart has yet to unfold. This juvenile clone is almost ready to strike off on her own.