What is an Aroid?

Anthuriums are considered aroids.

Aroid is a common name for a large species of plants in the Araceae family. This family of plants is also often called the Philodendron or Arum family. There are over 100 genera and 3,750 species of aroid plants, most of which are from the tropics, although there are some temperate species. Most tropical species evolved in the penumbra of rainforests, a trait that makes many aroid plants suitable as houseplants, where low light levels tend to stress many sun-loving plants. Some members of the Araceae family are familiar houseplants, while others are rare mysteries rarely found outside of rainforests or greenhouses.

Many aroids evolved in the twilight of tropical forests.

Aroid plants usually have lush, dark green, glossy leaves. The flowers are characterized by an erect spadix surrounded by a spathe. The spadix is ​​a stem composed of several tiny flowers; it is surrounded by the spathe, a thick, often colored, petal-shaped sheath. Anthuriums, lilies and peace lilies – all aroids – are common examples of this floral structure. The entire flower structure, including the royal flowers, the spadix, and the spathe, is called an inflorescence.

A calla lily is an example of an aroid.

An example of the strange members of this plant group is titan arum. The spadix reaches a dramatic 10 feet (about 300 cm) in height. The spathe is brown on the inside and, when fully open, extends 3 to 4 feet (about 90 to 120 cm). The tiny flowers bloom by the thousands along the erect spadix, where they are pollinated by insects that are attracted by the rotting flesh smell that emits from the inflorescence of titan arum.

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Aroids include the titan arum.

Although titan arum is not an ideal houseplant either because of its size or its particularly unpleasant smell, many aroid plants are ideal for indoor growing. The deep green foliage is attractive year-round, even when the plants are not actively flowering, and the flowers appear periodically throughout the year, usually in winter when other plants are dormant. Peace lilies and anthuriums are some of the most common and popular aroid houseplants, but others such as the seedling cane and the Chinese evergreen, both of which have colorful and visually interesting foliage, are also suitable for indoor cultivation.

Many commonly encountered aroids require little care. Good drainage, a little moisture, and occasional fertilization will keep these plants happy and flourishing, and since they don’t require a lot of light, they can add greenery to some of the darkest rooms and offices. The flowers are simply pinched or cut when they wither, and the golden or dead leaves are removed at the ground line periodically to keep the plants looking their best.

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