Let’s Try to Avoid Confusing Similar Plants

A monstera variety–see more below

I get it–there are times when plant ID can be confusing. I admit that I have done it once or twice myself. However, what is not good–and what I have seen happen in nationally syndicated publications (which I have not done, thank goodness!) is where the so-called experts have confused plant names and IDs and even run photos of the wrong plants.

That’s the point at which I say, “hello folks! Is there no fact checking out there anymore? Beginners–and maybe even more than beginning gardeners–are relying on you for this information. Please try to get it right if you are claiming to be an authority.”

The most egregious thing I have seen lately was the confusion of monstera delicious and split leafed philodendron. The reason I say that this is so egregious is because monstera has been the “it” plant for at least a couple of years now. Babies and toddlers can probably pick out a monstera leaf! (Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much!) I mean, that plant is everywhere! It’s on jewelry, fabric, housewares, clothing, the cut leaves are sold in just about every floral department. If you can’t ID a monstera leaf, you haven’t been paying attention.

And yet, just a week or two ago, I read in a nationally syndicated publication, something to the effect of, “monstera, also called split leafed philodendron….” That’s the kind of thing that just wants to make me rip my head off! I don’t know if it’s lazy–or worse!

There’s even a national catalog selling a “philodendron monstera. ” What? Pray tell which plant do you get? Growers choice? Whichever they have at the moment? The photo is of a monstera deliciosa but with that description, one can never be sure.

There are all sorts of wonderful articles out there about how to distinguish the two different plants. This is just one of those articles. It’s thorough, has lots of great photos, and one wishes that the author of the publication who can’t tell the two apart had taken the time to do a simple internet search to see what these plants were about.

And my photo above. It’s of a monstera adansonii, a different, smaller version of monstera commonly called Swiss cheese plant because the holes in the leaves are all contained–there are no “split” leaves like on monstera deliciosa. I guess it might resemble a giant Swiss cheese with a little imagination.

There are many different varieties of monstera, including a lovely variegated one. And I am sure they will continue to be confused. So please be aware of this ongoing problem.

Perhaps that’s why they say a “little” knowledge is a dangerous thing.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Try to Avoid Confusing Similar Plants

  1. tonytomeo March 12, 2022 / 3:05 pm

    It gets more complicated as botanists change names.

  2. gardendaze March 12, 2022 / 5:52 pm

    Oh my gosh, yes! I am still trying to get over the fact that snake plants are now technically dracena and not sansevieria! Ugh!
    Karla

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