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Poison Dart Plant Aglaonema commutatum

Previously known as:

  • Aglaonema marantifolium var. commutatum
Phonetic Spelling
ah-glah-oh-NAY-mah kom-yoo-TAH-tum
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

This herbaceous perennial is commonly grown as a houseplant. Evergreen tropical perennial shrub to 1.5 feet, erect and bushy. It resembles dumb cane (Dieffenbachia). It has elliptic dark green lance-shaped leaves that reach 4-8" long and 2-3" wide. Attractive silver-gray blotches appear on upright stems.  Blooms rarely as a houseplant in the late summer or early fall with a white spadix and green spathe.  Red clusters of berries follow the blooms.  Does well in diffuse sun or good indirect light.  Prefers high humidity but will tolerate dryer air.  Keep the potting mix moist from spring to fall.  Does not require a winter dormancy period but prefers a reduction in watering during the winter.

Desired for its erect, green leaves variegated with yellow/cream; tendency to get leggy with age as stem grows, gets cane-like and bends over; remove flowers and fruits to direct energy to plant growth.  An excellent plant for low light situations such as exist in most homes;  also used as a filler plant or low hedge in warm regions. Prefers low to medium light, moist soil and medium relative humidity; intolerant of constantly wet soil and of direct sunlight; some pest/disease problems.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: There are no serious disease or insect problems but watch for aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, or scale. Root rots can occur with over-watering - allow the medium to dry between watering and avoid using cold water. Leaves may turn brown in very dry air or drafty location. Intolerance of cold temperatures and prefers a daytime temperature range in the 70F - 80F.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Stem present, becoming sugarcane-like with age
  • Lanceolate leaves are green variegated with yellow/cream, grey, or pink/red
  • Leaves contain 5-8 main lateral veins
  • The inflorescence is greenish-white spadix/spathe

Distinguished from Dieffenbachia by a tendency to have only 5-8 main lateral veins. Distinguished from A. nitidum by the predominance of green coloring and presence of yellow/cream variegation in A. commutatum

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Frasher'
    Leaves are milky green with cream variegation and white petioles.
  • 'Pseudobracteatum'
    Leaves are spattered gray-green, spotted white with white coloration around main veins and with white stems spotted with green.
  • 'White Rajah'
    Leaves have massive amount of white coloration throughout.
'Frasher', 'Pseudobracteatum', 'White Rajah'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennial#container plant#dark green#low light#interiorscape#variegated leaves#silver#dappled sunlight#spadix#fantz#humidity tolerant#ebh#ebh-h#tropical feel
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Frasher'
    Leaves are milky green with cream variegation and white petioles.
  • 'Pseudobracteatum'
    Leaves are spattered gray-green, spotted white with white coloration around main veins and with white stems spotted with green.
  • 'White Rajah'
    Leaves have massive amount of white coloration throughout.
'Frasher', 'Pseudobracteatum', 'White Rajah'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennial#container plant#dark green#low light#interiorscape#variegated leaves#silver#dappled sunlight#spadix#fantz#humidity tolerant#ebh#ebh-h#tropical feel
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aglaonema
    Species:
    commutatum
    Family:
    Araceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Philippines, northeastern Celebes
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    high humidity
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Red clusters of berries follow the blooms. A globose to cylindroid berry, green ripening to white or red.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spadix
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Blooms rarely as a houseplant in the late summer or early fall with a whitish-yellow spadix with yellow-green spathe. Cylindrical to club-shaped; spathe, stalked, ovate, greenish to yellow.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    It has elliptic dark green lance-shaped leaves that reach 4-12" long and 2-4" wide. Alternate, simple, oblong-lanceolate, acute, cuneate, entire, often with banded yellow-white, grey-white, or pink-red along primary veins or spotted. Veins are curved and minor veins are not visible. Petioles sometimes white and shorter than the leaf length.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Attractive silver-gray blotches appear on upright stems, usually white or green, sometimes with a pink cast. Erect, becoming decumbent, encircled with leaf scars.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Humidity
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which is toxic if ingested or if the juice/sap is touched (dermatitis). More so a concern for dogs, cats, and horses but can a concern for humans. Animals may have the following symptoms: struggle to swallow, irritated/painful--even burning/swelling mouth (including lips and tongue and esophagus), may vomit, foam at the mouth, and much drooling. To humans and animals, it is poisonous if ingested (or if the juice from the plant is touched). Other symptoms (more so for humans) include a rash, pain where the rash is, and mucous membranes irritated.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Calcium oxalate crystals
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems