Spathiphyllum friedrichsthalii Untitled1.png

Common Names:
The Peace Lily, Pearly Goatfish

Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Arales
Family: Araceae
Latin Name: Spathiphyllum friedrichsthalii

Range and Abundance:

S. friedrichsthalii, a semi-aquatic emergent herb, is found in tropical areas of North America with habitats including wetlands.

Coloration and Morphology: S. friedrichsthalii has about four dark green leaves up to two feet long with only one flower – a 'flower' that is actually an inflorescence (many tiny flowers bunched together), also known as a spadix, among a backdrop of one white bract (a leaf that is unique to resemble a petal of a flower), also known as a spathe. The spathe is a hood-like white leaf that backs the spadix, the rod-like inflorescence of tiny flowers 3-7 cm long. The spadix is composed of an average of 361 tiny, protogynous flowers (the stigma is receptive before the anther releases pollen). Inflorescences usually last 11-12 days. The plant as a whole ranges from 18-24” tall.

Habitat: S. friedrichsthalii is primarily found in tropical regions, typically in evergreen forests at altitudes of 0 to 5,203 ft (1,586 m) in freshwater habitats. They can be present in terrestrial or wetland environments. In addition to land environments, they can be epiphytic, climbing or floating in the water. At La Selva, S. friedrichsthalii is common in swampy areas.

Ecology: S. friedrichsthalii is home to organisms including Hyla ebraccata where the leaves provide the substrate for egg production. Hyla ebraccata females lay eggs on the leaves to protect them from aquatic predators and then once the eggs hatch, they slide down the leaves into the water.

S. friedrichsthalii
has been found to have rhizomes, corms, or stolons. Rhizomes are underground stems and it is through this extensive branching that it forms large, apparently clonal colonies along shallow waterways. Corms are swollen underground plant stems that are used for storage, also a part of this system. Stolons are horizontal stems with adventitious roots that act as connectors between plants.

S. friedrichsthalii
is mainly pollinated by bees, including male euglossine bees collecting floral fragrances, pollen-collecting bees, and stingless bees. Pollen-collecting bees are important pollinators and play an important role in pollinator-induced selection of floral traits and reproductive traits (namely, floral fragrance and floral sexual phases). Stingless bees are the most effective pollinators. Male euglossine bees collecting floral fragrances have substantially influenced speciation within the genus and altered the bee species that are attracted (consequently leading to reproductive isolation and divergence).

Other species with which it interacts: Hyla ebraccata , Apidae: Trigona, Apidae: Euglossini, Neocorynura (Halictidae).

Personal Experience: I saw the Peace Lily at La Selva Biological Station in abundance in the swamp areas. I saw a plant with the white spathe and spadix - I was surprised that the tallest part of the plant was at eye level. The Peace Lily is also a common house plant.


Montalvo, Arlee M., and James D. Ackerman "Relative Pollinator Effectiveness and Evolution of Floral Traits in Spathiphyllum Friedrichsthalii (Araceae)" American Journal of Botany (1986): 1665-76.