Philodendrons Mcdowell Vs Pastazanum: What Are The Differences?

philodendron mcdowell vs pastazanum

If you want to discover the differences between a Mcdowell and Pastazanum, then you’re in the right place. We’ll explore everything you need to know to spot the distinctions between these two similar Philodendrons.

Save yourself time and money, and make sure you’ve got the plant you want. 

Mcdowell vs Pastazanum – Spotting The Difference

At first glance, these two plants are incredibly similar. However, you can see they have many distinctions once you start to look more closely. You should place your attention specifically on the leaves. Mcdowells have sunken veins and rounder leaves that are soft to the touch. 

Usually, Pastazanum’s leaves don’t have as pronounced veins, plus the top of the leaf may not be as wide. Pastazanum has elongated leaves with a pointed tip, and the surface is brighter and glossier. 

We’ll go into much more detail on all the differences below. 

Philodendron Mcdowell & Pastazanum Overview

Philodendron PastazanumPhilodendron Mcdowell
OriginsEcuador/PeruCross between Philodendron Gloriosum & Pastazanum – All native to South America
Scientific NamePhilodendron Pastazanum K. Krause.Philodendron “Dean Mcdowell” 
Growth HabitCreeper/CrawlingCreeper/Crawling

How (& Why) Mcdowell and Pastazanum are Similar

The Mcdowell and Pastazanum are incredibly similar plants. This is for a very good reason, though, as the Mcdowell is a crossbreed created by a man called John Banza in 1988. He used the Philodendron Pastazanum and Philodendron Gloriosum to create the Mcdowell plant. The plant is named after his friend, Dean Mcdowell. 

Due to the Mcdowell’s lineage, it shares many similarities to the Pastazanum: 

  • Both share wide leaves with folds, and a central branching vein
  • They both have heart-shaped leaves
  • Both plants thrive in tropical climates
  • They have a similar size, shape, and color
  • They are both easy-going plants and not too difficult to care for 

Mcdowell and Pastazanum – The Differences

In this section, we’ll explore the differences between these two Philodendrons. Starting with the leaves and progressing to the stems. While these are incredibly simple plants, once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to sort the Mcdowell’s from the Pastazanum’s. 

It’s important to get a good look at the plant because without looking at some small details, it will be challenging to tell what you’re getting. 

Adaxial Leaf (Upper Surface)

The front side of the Mcdowell leaf is where many key differences lie.

Mcdowell vs Pastazanum frontside

As you can see, they both have a heart-shaped leaf – but the Pastazanum (on the left) is narrower and has a pointed tip. 

Pastazanum also tends to have a shinier and glossy look on the surface. The veins are somewhat noticeable and quite pale. The central vein is easy to notice, but the smaller branching ones get more and more difficult to see as you get close to the edge of the leaf. 

The Mcdowell (pictured on the right) has wider leaves, which are rounder and thicker than the Pastazanum.

The leaves are translucent instead of glossy. They can appear to have an almost fine coating of dust, which is a trait that it gets from the Philodendron Gloriosum. The veins are more pronounced, and you can see them running to the leaf’s edge. 

The Mcdowell’s leaf also has more folding. In some conditions, the central vein on a young leaf will have a pale pinkish color. 

Abaxial Leaf (Lower Surface)

pastazanum vs mcdowell abaxial leaf

Compared to the Mcdowell, the rear of the Pastazanum leaf is flatter with fewer folds and depressions.

On the other hand, the rear of the Dean Mcdowell leaf shows many large and supporting veins. These veins form concave spaces on the middle surface. You might notice that the rear younger leaves are pale pink, but this is not always the case. 

Leaf Base

mcdowell vs pastazanum leaf base

The leaf base – is the point at which the stem and leaf connect.

The Pastazanum and the Mcdowell have incredibly similar bases. The Mcdowell has a reddish-brown ring towards the end of the petiole – which is a trait it inherits from the Philodendron Gloriosum

Leaf Margin

pastazanum vs mcdowell leaf margin

The leaf margin also hides some distinguishing characteristics of these two plants.

The Pastazanum tends to have a matching color between the edge and the rest of the leaf. The Mcdowell’s edge is a dark brown color – which shares some similarities with the reddish-brown margin of a P. Gloriosum leaf. 


The petiole on each plant also has some differences that can help you distinguish them.

pastazanum vs mcdowell petiole

The Pastazanum has a more compact petiole, with shorter but more numerous green stripes.

The Dean Mcdowell has longer and more prominent stripes, but they are more spread out and not as numerous.

The Mcdowell’s petiole shares many characteristics with the P. Gloriosum’s. 

Cataphyll – Leaf Sheaf

The cataphyll (a leaf sheaf) on these Philodendrons protects the growth tip and young leaves. As the plant ages, the leaf sheaf turns brown. It’s much easier to look for differences in younger cataphylls on these plants. 

The leaf sheaf on a Pastazanum has a light green color. It also has many short and compact stripes, similar to those on the stem

The leaf sheaf on a Mcdowell has a reddish-brown tint. This is due to a combination of the red rose color of P. Gloriosum and the green supplied by P. Pastazanum. 

McDowell and Pastazanum – Basic Care

McDowell & Pastazanum have similar care needs & are easy to care for:

They like bright and indirect sunlight as they naturally grow on the forest/jungle floor. Use aroid soil mix (following this guide). Misting the leaves regularly can help unblock their pores. 

Philodendrons generally don’t like to be overwatered. They are susceptible to root rot. If the top layer is dry, then it’s time to give them a drink! You can check if they’re ready for watering by sticking your finger about an inch into the topsoil. 

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