Recently I wrote a posting about how Matisse had a large number of Philodendrons and used them as a motif in his work during the later years of his life.

I wrote about my photograph of a Philodendron elegans leaf, or at least part of it. In the illustration above, it is the top right hand corner illustration. Elegans is now quite rare, seemingly having fallen out of fashion as plants do. It’s a pity because, currently at least, it is one of my favourite Philodendrons.

According to the Shorter Oxford, the word is from the Greek philo, to love, and dendron, trees, referring to its fondness for climbing trees when given the opportunity.

This last week I’ve been able to enjoy uninterrupted time to relax and potter around. The weather was perfect, mostly wild. I’ve had time to look through a new biography of Matisse and was interested to see this photo of his studio wall. I like the philodendron leaf motif as he uses it.

Apparently he had a number of philodendrons. Here’s the motif in some chapel windows, made when he was about 80. It was only in the third version of the windows that he removed red from them. I don’t know why this impressed me so much.

Two or three years ago I took the photo below, a closeup of a philodendron elegans that I grow. Elegans are particularly difficult to locate but I found a small plant at a market 5 years ago and it grew in a pot quite happily but became tall and top heavy. Eighteen months ago I took it to a nursery where they cut it into 9 pieces and have been growing the segments on for me. Old enough now, I’ve brought them home again. Each one is about a foot high.