What is the difference between Syngonium Chiapense and Syngonium Macrophyllum? Good question!
This is a question that I see a lot but even I have only guessed the answer. I have both and although I can tell the difference between the two, when they sit side by side, I am not always able to tell when its a lone cutting found in the greenhouse, that I’ve not labled.
In juvinile form, the two have leaves that are quite similar. Both are found in the same regions of Mexico’s south and are closely related. So like family members, look very much the same.
There are some differences in the Juvinile plants and the leaves, though. S. Chiapense has a more matte and rubbery appearance, S. Macrophyllum is more shiny and can be slightly darker in colour.
The stems of both juvinile plants are glaucous, meaning they have a bluish greyish tone on the surface of the plant. While Chiapense’s stems have a green tone under the glaucous appearance, S. Macrophyllum can have a more purplish stem colour.
Here in Australia, we have a form of Macrophyllum that is very purple in the stem. While this does make identifying the difference easier, I do not believe this is a common form in other parts of the world.
As the plant matures, the differences in leaf shape become more obvious and the two essentially become two very different plants.
S. Chiapense more or less holds its leaf shape into maturity. The development of a pair of posterior lobes (Posterior: to the rear, Lobe: A rounded projection that is part of a larger structure) that merge together at the sinus, will eventually form. Otherwise the mature form and the juvinile form do not change that much.
S. Macrophyllum on the other hand, changes its shape entirely. At first it elongates and develops lobes, before fully maturing with 7-9 free leaflets.
So there it is!
While not the easiest plants to tell apart in juvinile form. In Mature form its pretty obvious.
As most of us have the more juvinile form to start with, it is important to know the differences, if you want to know which is which.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for reading and happy growing. Xx