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This V.S. That: Aroid Edition

This week we’re playing a game of 'This VS That.' We are comparing Monstera adonsonii with Monstera obliqua. So get your game face on, gather up some tail-gating treats and get ready for a plantastic game of comparison!

There's a real life absolute grudge match between two highly sought after Monstera species: adonsonii VS obliqua. As both plants carry higher than your average price tags and one (obliqua) tends to be referred to as a unicorn plant, the need to tell them apart is understandably considerable. Both plants are vines that form holes in their mature leaves and, as you might have guessed or known, look unbelievably similar when young. Not only that, even mature plants of each species can be highly variable to the point of having an uncanny amount of overlapping physical traits. With all that said, these are two distinct species as described by botanists so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and dive in to the differences between these two horticultural must-haves! First and foremost, their inflorescences (the complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers) differ from one another. Aroids (members of the Araceae family) like Monsteras have an inflorescence made up of a spathe (a hood-like, modified leaf) and a spadix which is the long, cone-like structure inside the spathe. The flowers themselves are tiny and appear along the outside of the spadix. M. adansonii develop lots of flowers on the spadix while M. obliqua only forms a very small number of flowers on its spadix. The next few differences involve leaves. Holes on adansonii tend to be narrower than obliqua while its overall leaf size tends to be much larger than obliqua’s. Obliqua also tends to have papery-thin, wavy leaf edges whereas adansonii have thick leaves with straight edges. Aside from leaves, another key difference is the formation of stolons (runners; long stems that eventually form roots and new plants) in obliqua, and lack thereof with adansonii. The final difference lies in the growth habit. Adansonii is a vigorous grower that can outpace most houseplants while obliqua, in all its rarity and desirability, is a painfully slow and begrudging grower.

Now that the dust has settled, you’ve hopefully cleared the air between you and plant friends and can finally write your ID tags in ink. We hope this is helpful in making sure you either get, or have, the plant of your dreams!

Sources

Madison. Michael. “A Revision of Monstera.” Contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard UniversityNo. 207 (1977), pp. 3-100 (98 pages). JSTORhttps://www.jstor.org/stable/41764722.

Raffaele. “Monstera obliqua vs. adansonii: 7 Critical Differences.” Ohio Tropics. 4 August 2021. https://www.ohiotropics.com/2020/07/14/monstera-obliqua-vs-adansonii/

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