5. Peltandra Rafinesque, Journal de Physique, de Chimie, d'Histoire Naturelle et des Arts. 89:103. 1819.
Arrow arum [Greek pelte, small shield, and andros, male, referring to the shield-shaped tops of the staminate flowers]
Herbs, wetland. Rhizomes vertical. Leaves appearing before flowers, several, clustered apically, erect; petiole equal to or longer than blade; blade green or glaucous light green, simple, not peltate, lanceolate to widely ovate, base hastate to sagittate, rarely cordate, apex acuminate to rounded or mucronate; lateral veins parallel. Inflorescences: peduncle recurving in fruit, half ½ as long as to slightly longer than petiole, apex not swollen; spathe tube green, enclosing base of spadix; spathe blade green to white, opening slightly to fully at anthesis; spadix cylindric. Flowers unisexual, staminate and pistillate on same plant,, pistillate flowers covering basal portion of spadix,, staminate flowers apical, consisting of 4--5 connate stamens forming flat-topped synandrium; sterile flowers proximal to and usually distal to staminate flowers; perianth absent. Fruits not embedded in spadix, red or green to dark purple-green. Seeds 1--2(--4), mucilage present. x = 14.
Species 2 (2 in the flora): eastern North America.
Only one species of Peltandra, P. virginica, (with two subspecies), was recognized by W. H. Blackwell and K. P. Blackwell (1974), a treatment followed by some botanists. They synonymized P. luteospadix with P. sagittifolia, based primarily on their contention that no Peltandra species have red fruits, and called that taxon P. virginica subsp. luteospadix (Fernald) Blackwell & Blackwell. All of the specimens cited in their treatment of the genus are P. virginica.
The two species of Peltandra can be distinguished not only on reproductive charactersistics, but also on features of leaf venation. Fossil leaves congeneric with modern Peltandra are known from very late Paleocene through early Eocene deposits of North America. Peltandra is one of two genera of Araceae endemic to the flora area (the other is Orontium).
Blackwell, W. H., Jr. and K. P. Blackwell. 1974. The taxonomy of Peltandra (Araceae). J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. 90: 137--140. Thompson, S. A. 1995. Systematics and biology of the Araceae and Acoraceae of temperate North America. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois.