This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Almost all our readers are familiar with the Indian turnip - small roots from the woods which blister the mouth when raw, but are wholesome mealy esculents when roasted. The children know the flowers better as "the Preacher in the pulpit," alluding to the slender column of flowers which rises in the centre of the hood-like spathe. This is a good illustration of the Arum family as we find them in our wild places. The common skunk-cabbage is another of the same family; instead of the spadix rising like a rod in the centre, we have but a globular mass of flowers. In our greenhouses we have the common Calla or Ethiopian Lily as a familiar representative, and from them a good idea of the order.
In tropical countries however, there are kinds, which though we might know they were Aroids by the general appearance of leaves and flowers, have very different habits, for they creep up trees, attaching themselves by aerial roots, much as poison vines or the English Ivies do, though the roots are thick and fleshy, as some orchid roots are. Many of these have thick leaves, beautifully tinted, and must give a grand effect to the forest scenery of which they form a part. The species we now illustrate belongs especially to this climbing class of Aroids, and indeed its botanical name Philoden-dron was suggested by its habit, the meaning being literally "a tree lover." Some of the genus have fruits which are excellent eating. In our own experience we have found the fruit of Philodendron pertusum, almost as good as a pine apple. These striking denizens of tropical forests, have proved to be among the most useful and beautiful in ornamenting warm greenhouses, and the present species Philodendron Carderi is believed to be among the loveliest of all.
In England it was one of the twelve new plants with which Mr. W. B. gained the first prize at the Provincial show of the Royal Horticultural Society, at Preston, in 1878, and one of the nine new plants of which Mr.W. B gained the first prize at the Great Show of the Royal Horticultural Society held at Kensington, in 1878. Mr. Bull furnishes the following description of it: "This exquisitely colored Arad is native of South America, whence it was sent to England by the collector, whose name it bears. The leaves are cordate, broadish, of a dark shaded bottle green, with a satiny lustre, the principal ribs being marked out by bright green lines of a glaucous or metallic hue; at the back the leaves are of a shaded wine purple, the course of the veins being marked by broad green lines. The glossy shaded satiny surface of the leaves imparts to' them a wondrous degree of beauty".