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Anthurium (photo courtesy of Doreen L. Wynja)
Anthurium (photo courtesy of Doreen L. Wynja)

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Native to tropical American rain forests, these exotic-looking plants are prized for their large, often glossy leaves and distinctive “flowers” (a large, flattish bract surrounding a slender, fleshy spike). Many species are usually grown as potted plants, even in tropical climates. Anthuriums, sometimes called flamingo flowers, make unusual houseplants in cooler climates.

Anthurium andraeanum

Oblong leaves with a heart-shaped base grow 1 ft. long and 6 in. wide. Spreading, heart-shaped, puckered bracts to 6 in. long come in shades of red, rose, pink, and white, and shine as though lacquered. Spikes are yellow. Bloom is more or less continuous—plant may have four to six flowers during the year. Flowers last 6 weeks on the plant, 4 weeks after cutting.

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