Let’s explore a plant with no roots in the ground: The Queen Anthurium! This plant’s scientific name is Anthurium warocqueanum. This plant’s common name is Queen Anthurium. Look closely at the photos and videos below. What do you notice? How do you think this plant has adapted to survive in its environment?
Scientific Name: Anthurium warocqueanum (an-THUR-ee-um war-o-KWEE-ahn-um)
Common Name: Queen Anthurium
Range: Colombia: Chocó Region
Large, Wide Leaves. In wet conditions, many plants grow close together. This means it can be hard for plants to get enough sunlight! Large leaves have a better chance of absorbing the available light. The plant needs that light to turn into food. Large, wide leaves are an adaptation to help the plant make food while in a shady environment.
Dark Green Leaves. Dark leaves absorb more light than pale leaves. Dark leaves help plants that live in shady environments absorb as much sunlight as they can! Dark green leaves are an adaptation to help the plant make food while in a shady environment.
Which color do you think best matches the leaves of this plant?
Drip Tips and Vertical Leaves. Drip tips are pointed tips on the ends of leaves. Vertical leaves point toward the ground. In wet environments, it rains a lot. Water is heavy! If water piles up on a leaf, it can break the leaf! If water builds up on leaves, they can rot. Too much water can also help fungi and moss to grow on leaves. These fungi and mosses block out the sun. Drip tips and vertical leaves are adaptations that help the plant survive in environments with heavy rain.
Epiphyte. Most roots grow underground, but not all roots! Epiphytes are plants that grow entirely above ground! Their roots do not anchor the plant to the ground. Instead, they anchor the plant to another plant! These roots can absorb nutrients and water from the air and from other plants. Wet environments have nutrient-poor soil, so it can be hard for plants to get the nutrients they need from the ground. Epiphytism is an adaptation that helps the plant survive in environments with limited nutrients available in the soil.
Patterned Leaves. Animals need water and nutrients to stay alive. Plants are a great source of water and nutrients for animals, but plants need their water and nutrients! Leaves with colorful patterns can confuse animals. The animals have trouble figuring out where the leaf is! Patterned leaves are an adaptation to protect the plant from hungry animals.
Questions & Prompts
What do you observe?
What do you wonder?
Imagine touching this plant. What would it feel like? Do you think different parts of the plant feel different?
If you could ask this plant one question, what would you ask?
This plant’s common name (or nickname) is Queen Anthurium. Why do you think people chose this common name? What common name (or nickname) would you give to this plant? Why?
What do you think would happen to this plant if it were transplanted to a desert? Why do you think that?
What colors do you see on this plant? Do you see any of these greens? Can you recreate these colors using art supplies?
What do you think this plant’s prop roots like on the inside? Create an artwork or write a descriptive paragraph.
Be an engineer! Study the adaptations that help this plant survive in an environment with lots of water. Create an invention to help people survive an environment with lots of water. Your invention should use the same features that this plant uses. What does your invention do? Is your invention sustainable?
Be an artist! Create an abstract artwork based on this plant’s features. When you’re done, write a label for your artwork.
Be an artist! Create a pattern artwork based on a plant part pattern you see. When you’re done, write a label for your artwork.
Be an artist! Create a work of botanical art for this plant.
Write from the perspective of a small rainforest animal (you choose which animal). This animal encounters this plant for the first time. What do they think? What do they notice? What do they do?
Resources and References
Huntington Database https://huntingtonbg.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/attachmentviewer/index.html?appid=5c77c325bab7412ca95c9187d430491c¢er=-118.1143%2C34.1288&level=16&defaultObjectId=130&attachmentIndex=0&selectedLayerId=Plant_Database_7848
“Anthurium Warocqueanum.” Plants of the World Online. n.d. Accessed June 7, 2021. http://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:85496-1.