Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum is a tropical plant, an evergreen shrub, from the Araceae family of plants. They previously placed this plant in the Philodendron genus. After recent DNA testing, they moved it to a new genus Thaumatophyllum. So Philodendron bipinnatifidum is a synonym.
It is native to South America, mainly to Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. You can plant Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum outdoors in temperate climates, such as Southern California. In cold weather, it will die down completely and regrow next season. They also call it the Lacy Tree, Philodendron selloum, Horsehead Philodendron, Fiddle-leaf Philodendron, or Panda Plant.
Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum can grow on its own trunk. If there is another support nearby it might show epiphytic characteristics and climb instead. The trunk produces aerial roots, that provide it with water and support. The height can reach 15ft or 5m. over time.
It has simple, large, deep green foliage. They are deeply lobed. The leaves can grow to 4ft or 1.2m long. The name “bipinnatifidum” is in reference to the leaf shape. The plant flowers after it matures. Sometimes taking about fifteen years before it flowers. It usually flowers in the summer.
The flower is white, without petals, and appears on a spadix. A spathe or a modified leaf protects the flowers. The spadix has three sections, with fertile male flowers a the end, sterile male flowers in the middle, and fertile female flowers toward the chamber. The flowers are fertilized by pollinators. Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum attracts pollinators by releasing a scent which is achieved by heat-producing sterile male flowers.
How to grow Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum:
Grow Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum in the sun. It can tolerate some shade, and indoors it requires plenty of light. Plant it in rich, evenly moist soil. Use normal to slightly alkaline soil type. Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum does not tolerate salt. Generally, it is disease-free and pest-free. Watch out for root rot if the soil is too soggy. Indoors, watch out for aphids or spider mites, or mealybugs. Propagate by seed or layering.