This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(J. F. Dieffenbach, a German botanist, 1794-1847) Ardceae. Popular hothouse plants, grown for their handsome and striking foliage.
Low, shrubby perennials: stems rather thick, inclined or creeping at the base, then erect, with a leafy top: petioles half-cylindrical, sheathed to above the middle, long, cylindrical at the apex; blade oblong, with a thick midrib at the base; veins very numerous, the first and second parallel, ascending, curving upward at their ends: peduncle shorter than the leaves Differs from Aglaonema in floral characters. Cent, and S. Amer. Perhaps a dozen species. Engler (in Engler & Prantl, 1889) recognizes many species, with many varieties.
Fig. 1261. Dieffenbachia picta variety Bausei.
For dieffenbachias, similar rooting material to that mentioned for anthuriums, combined with a high and moist atmosphere, will produce a very healthy and luxuriant growth of foliage, especially after the plants have made their first few leaves in ordinary light potting soil. Unless it be the very large-leaved kinds, like D. triumphans, D. nobilis and D. Baumannii, three or four plants may be placed together in large pots, keeping the balls near the surface in potting. D. Jenmanii, D. Shuttleworthiana, D. Leopoldii and D. eburnea are all well suited for massing together in large pots. When above a certain height, varying in different species, the plants come to have fewer leaves, and those that remain are small; they should then be topped, retaining a considerable piece of the stem, and placed in the sand-bed, where they will throw out thick roots in a week or two. The remaining part of the stems should then be cut up into pieces 2 or 3 inches long, dried for a day or so, and then put into boxes of sand, when, if kept warm and only slightly moist, every piece will send out a shoot, and from the base of this shoot roots will be produced.
These can be potted up as soon as roots have formed. (G. W. Oliver.)
Schott (D. brasiliensis, Veitch. D. Shuttleworthiana, Regel). Blade oblong, or oblong-elliptical, or oblong-lanceolate, 2 1/2-4 times longer than wide, rounded or acute at the base, gradually narrowing to the long acuminate-cuspidate apex, green, with numerous irregular oblong or linear spots between the veins; veins 15-20 on each side, ascending. L.B.C. 7:608 (as, Caladium maculatum). J.H. III. 46:165
Variety Bausei, Engler (D. Bausei, Regel). Fig. 1261. Blade nearly or completely yellowish green, with obscurely green-spotted margins and scattered white spots. I.H. 26:338.
Variety Shuttleworthiana, Engler (D. Shuttleworthiana, Bull). Blade pale green along the midrib.
Seguine, Schott. Leaves green, with white, more or less confluent stripes and spots, oblong or ovate-oblong, rounded or slightly cordate or subacute at the base, narrowed toward the apex, short cuspidate; primary veins 9-15, the lower spreading, the upper remote and ascending. Lowe 14 (as variety maculata). W. Indies. - Called "dumb plant" because those who chew it sometimes lose the power of speech for several days.
Variety Baraquiniana, Engler (D. Baraquiniana, Versch. & Lem. D. gigantea, Versch. D. Verschaffeltii, Hort. Petioles and also midribs almost entirely white; blade with scattered white spots. I.H. 11:387; 13:470, 471. G. 2:238.
Variety nobilis, Engler (D. nobile, Hort.). Fig. 1262. Blade elliptical, acute, dull green with dirty green spots. Brazil.
Variety liturata, Engler (D. liturata, Schott. D. variegdta, Hort. D. Leopoldii, Bull. D. Wallisii, Lind.). Blade dark green, with a rather broad, yellowish green, ragged - margined stripe along the midrib: spathe glaucous-green. Province Para, Brazil. I.H. 17:11. S.H. 1, p. 455. G.Z. 25, p. 250.
Variety irrorata, Engler (D. irrorata, Schott. D. Baumannii, Hort.). Leaves large and bright green, blotched and sprinkled with white. Brazil.
The above are the recognized two type species. The following are or have been in the American trade. Probably some or all of them belong to the foregoing species:
Chelsonii, Bull. Leaves deep, satiny green, the middle gray-feathered, and the blade also blotched yellow-green. Colombia.
Hort. Compact: leaves light green, freely spotted with white, the stems reddish and white-ribbed. Brazil.
Fournieri, Hort. Vigorous: leaves large, leathery, with spots and blotches of white on a blackish green background. Colombia.
Hort. See D. latimaculata.
Hort. Leaves 16-18 in. long, 5-6 in. wide, olive-green, fantastically blotched, marbled and spotted with pale yellow and white. Colombia.
Fig. 1262. Dieffenbachia Seguine variety nobilis.
Hort. Leaves dark green, with irregular, angular blotches of pale yellowish green, 6 or more in. wide, ovate and short-acuminate in form and with pale green petiole. Colombia,
Lind. & Andre (D. illustris, Hort.). Leaves glaucous-green, profusely white-barred and white-spotted and blotched with yellow-green, the petioles also glaucous. Brazil. I.H. 23:234.
Jenmanii, Veitch. Leaves rich, bright, glossy green, relieved by a milk-white band at every lateral nerve, and by a few white spots interspersed between the bands. Guiana. G.Z. 2S, p. 218.
Lind. & Rod. Leaves ovate-acuminate, large, dark green, attractively blotched and spotted with white along the veins; stems and petioles also variegated. Venezuela. I.H. 30:482. S.H. 2, p. 383. G. 13:643.
Hort. See D. Parlatorei.
L. Lind. & Rod. Leaves with the long petioles green, marked with ivory-white, the blades dark green above, paler beneath, marked on both sides with a few white spots. Ecuador. I.H. 39:559.
memoria-Corsii. A hybrid raised in the garden of the late Marquis Corsi.
& Andre, variety marmorea, Andre" (D. memoria, D. mormora and D. Corsii, Hort.). Leaves long-oblong, acuminate, the midrib white and the blades blotched white, the green deep and lustrous. Colombia. I.H. 24:291. - Engler refers this plant to the genus Philodendron.
Regina, Bull. Leaves oblong-elliptical, rounded at base, short-acuminate at apex, greenish white, profusely mottled and blotched with alternate light and green tints. S. Amer. G.Z. 28, p. 26. - The vari-colored and margined leaves are very attractive.
Rex, Hort. Compact: leaves oblong-lanceolate, the two sides not equal, deep green, but the white angular blotches and midrib occupying more space than the green. S. Amer. G.Z. 28, p. 97.
Sanderae, Hort. Leaves very broad-oval, green, mottled with cream-color.
Bull. stem faintly mottled with dark and light green: leaves have a thick, ivory-white midrib, and the ground-color is of a deep, rich, velvety bottle-green, with a resplendent, lustrous surface, freely marked with whitish striate blotches. Colombia. G.Z. 25, p. 193.
Bull. Leaves dark green, ovate-lanceolate and acuminate, 1 ft. long, irregularly marked with angular yellowish blotches. Colombia. Jared G. Smith
George V. Nash, †