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Anthurium Brownii Care Guide 101

Anthurium brownii makes a perfect air purifying plant, thanks to its large leaves that effectively trap air impurities.

A go-to indoor plant is also valued for its heart-shaped leaves with long petioles that you would not want to miss.

However, keeping the plant healthy can become challenging, especially when watering and humidity levels go wrong.

Anthurium brownii naturally thrives in a tropical, wet environment with slightly moist soil and high humidity (above 50%). Additionally, it requires a warm temperature (60 to 85°F), diffused bright sunlight, and occasional nitrogen-rich feed and pruning to stay healthy.

Anthurium Brownii
Anthurium brownii (Source: Etsy.com)

An essential reminder to novice gardeners is that it is a tropical plant, so treat it as such!

Read on to find out everything there is to know about your prized brownii plant, the best care tips, and how to diagnose and treat the problems.

Overview of Anthurium Brownii

Anthurium brownii is not your ordinary houseplant. Primarily known for its striking foliage, the plant also bears flowers and fruits year-round.

Hailing from the tropical forests of Costa Rica and Columbia, they require a slightly wet, warm, and humid climate to survive in typical homes.

It was named after Nicholas Edward Brown, an English plant taxonomist, in the early 20th Century.

Anthurium with flower
Anthurium with flower (Source: Pixabay)

Here is a table describing the essential detail of the plant.

Scientific NameAnthurium brownii Mast
NativeCentral America, Caribbean, and South America
FamilyAraceae
GenusAnthurium Schott
Growth ZoneUSDA 9b-11
Plant TypeTropical Perennials (Can be grown as annual)
Growth Size24-36 inches
Growth habitSlow to moderate growth
Grown ForLong, Green leaves, flowers, and fruits
ContainerCeramic, plastic, or clay pots with 2-3 drainage holes
FloweringRed flower
ToxicityToxic to Humans and Pets
Common PestsMealybugs, Scales, Aphids, and Spider mites
Common DiseasesBacterial blight, Leaf spot, and Bacterial wilt

Its ruffled, yellow veined leaves and long spindly flowers identify a healthy, mature plant. When the foliage is fresh in spring, you may also notice tiny fruiting varying in color.

And the large leaves are quite effective in absorbing airborne toxins like toluene and formaldehyde.

Provide the plant’s natural setting, and it will bloom year-round, but keep an eye out for a few pests and diseases commonly found in tropical plants.

Anthurium Brownii Care Guide 101

Anthurium brownii is a very easy-to-care houseplant, but it does need optimal care and maintenance to prevent the onset of problems.

Yellowing, wilted or drooping leaves, stunted growth, rust-like spots on the leaf are a few of the signs of a distressed plant.

Keep in mind the Amazon rainforest setting when growing Anthurium brownii at home.

(flaticon.com)

Bright-indirect light
(3-4 hours)


Every week in spring and summer
Every 15-18 days in fall and winter


Well-draining, chunky soil mix that retains moisture
Fertilizer icons created by Smashicons - Flaticon

Nitrogen-rich plant food once a month


78°F to 90°F (25°C to 32°C)


At least 60-70% humidity


Repot only when the root ball engulfs the soil


Propagate via Stem cuttings

Here is a complete care guide about Anthurium brownii that is applicable to both novice and seasoned growers.

1. Adequate Sunlight and Proper Location

Anthurium brownii prefers to sit in bright, indirect sunlight for at least 7-8 hours a day.

Keep in mind the sunlight provided should be diffused to prevent direct sunlight from burning the leaves.

It is naturally a shade plant that does well under large trees; hence, care to provide a similar setting at home.

Sunlight for Indoor Plants
Sunlight for Indoor Plants (Source: UGA Extension)

Ensure at least 400 Foot Candle (FC) or 4300 lux light to witness promising growth. Anything less than 100 FC is insufficient. While 1500-2000 FC grow light is needed to induce growth

Better keep them beside the wall or a few feet away from a window, door, or patio that receives ample indirect sunlight throughout the day.

Many growers prefer keeping them in low lights, which affects the growth of healthy foliage and flowers. Instead, care to provide medium to bright light to induce signature leaf and flower growth.

Excessive Lighting Problems

  • The crisp and dry leaf
  • Brown tips and scorched leaf marks
  • Discolored and curled leaf

Under Lighting Problems

  • Leggy stem growth
  • Loss of dark green pigments
  • Drooping and wilting leaf
  • Stunted growth

Tips to Ensure Adequate Lighting

  • Place them on a northeast or east-facing window with subtle early morning sun. Otherwise, choose a south-facing window with bright sunlight throughout the day.
  • When placed at the south-facing window, ensure to keep them at least 3-feet away from the window to minimize sun damage.
  • Every week, rotate the plant in the exact location to compensate for unbalanced light intake.
  • Avoid placing them in low-light locations in the house.

Use artificial grow lights for at least 12 hours a day to compensate for inappropriate weather conditions. A LED grows light may offer correct light intensity and color temperature to induce healthy blooms year around.

FInd out how to provide optimal sunlight to Anthurium.

2. Weekly Watering Routine

Unlike other tropical plants, Anthurium brownii prefers slightly moist soil conditions at all times.

The slightly moist condition assists the feeder roots in obtaining nutrients, moisture, and bio-organisms from the soil quickly.

Water your Anthurium brownii every 7-8 days in the growing season and 15-18 days in fall and winter.

However, Anthurium brownii’s large fleshy roots will quickly rot in the water-logged soil, which would become prominent with limping or wilting and yellowing of leaves.

Overwatering the Plant
Overwatering the Plant (Source: tenor.com)

A severely water-saturated plant will go into stress and exhibit stunted growth with root rot signs such as decayed lower stems, slowed growth, and dying young leaves.

On the other hand, an underwatered plant will often develop dried or crispy leaves that will crumble to the touch.

Tips to Provide Adequate Watering

  • As per the rule of thumb, water you plant only when the top third of the soil dries out.
  • Get a soil moisture sensor (1 to 10 scales) from the market. (The sensor reading eight or above indicates an overwatered brownii plant.)
  • Provide 800 ml of water to a 5″ pot in the growing season, but reduce it to 500 ml in winter.
  • Consider deep watering the plant to let the roots absorb enough moisture.
  • Otherwise, introduce a slow-watering method to keep the soil moist at all times.
  • Use rainwater or distilled water set aside for at least 24 hours before using.

3. Warm Temperature

Anthurium brownii does well in a slightly warmer and humid environment, usually found in a tropical setting.

They grow best in day temperatures between 78°F to 90°F (25°C to 32°C) and 70°F to 75°F (21°C to 24°C) at night.

Although they can survive cold temperatures as low as 64-degrees Fahrenheit, anything under that may push back the plant’s growth.

Temperature in relation to plant's growth
The temperature in relation to plant’s growth (Source: ResearchGate)

Brownii grows well in areas that get temperatures of +50°F aound the year, such as USDA 9b-11 zones.

However, they ar a bit sensitive to too hot or cold environment. Exposing them to a temperature above 90°F, especially in the arid climate, will burn the foliage and invite transpiration (loss of water from the leaves)

On the other hand, anything below 40 will stunt the plant’s growth.

Tips to Ensure Ideal Temperature

  • Avoid keeping them in front of an air conditioner or heater that will suck the leaves dry.
  • Check the soil for dryness and increase the watering frequency when the temperature rises above 90-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Mist the plant leaves regularly in summer to prevent transpiration.
  • Bring it inside when the outdoor temperature starts to drop below 65-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a heating pad or insulation to protect the plant from cold.
  • Otherwise, insulate the plant using a frost blanket to prevent cold stress.
Frost blanket
Frost blanket for plants (Source: Amazon.com)

Introduce artificial heating in fall and winter by installing one incandescent and two fluorescent bulbs with high wattage.

Aim the fixtures towards the plant. Otherwise, keep the fluorescent closer than the incandescent to prevent heat damage.

4. High Humidity Level

Anthuriums require a high humidity level to thrive, much higher than the typical homes.

Correct humidity plays a vital role in ensuring the plant’s health and healthy foliage growth.

Anthurium brownii requires anything between 60-70% relative humidity levels at all times. Anything under 50% can leave the plant dry and encourage transpiration, while 80% or above may invite moisture stress.

Effect of humidity
Effect of Humidity on Plants (source: North Carolina Climate Office)

Brown leaf tips, curling or wilting, crispy leaves, and dried soil are common indicators of wrong humidity levels.

However, achieving a high humidity level may become impossible at home; hence, consider artificially boosting the humidity levels.

Tips to Provide Optimum Humidity

  • Place the plant close to kitchen or bathroom areas that naturally exhibit humid conditions.
  • Keep them close together to boost humidity levels naturally.
  • Otherwise, install an electric humidifier to boost the humidity level artificially.
  • Mist the plant leaves regularly in spring and summer.
  • If a plant looks dried with compact soil, consider placing the pot on a pebble tray filled with water to moisten the soil naturally.
  • Grow your Anthurium in a greenhouse to easily maintain a high humidity level.

Pro Tip: Excess humidity invites moisture around the plant, causing soggy and wet soil.

5. Well-Draining Chunky Mix

Anthurium plants are epiphytes that grow on other surfaces; they are used to oxygen their roots. Choose a well-draining, chunky mix with sand and peat moss to prepare an ideal potting mix.

An orchid mix blended with sand and peat moss makes a perfect potting mix for Anthurium brownii.

Schultz Sphagnum Peat Moss
Sphagnum Peat Moss for Staghorn Fern (Source: Wikimedia)

However, ensure that it does not retain excess water as it can quickly lead to root rot conditions. The idea is to ensure it remains slightly moist and aerated but never too soggy.

Similarly, it should have a somewhat neutral 6-6.5 pH range, typical with most tropical plants.

Follow this guide to prepare the correct potting mix at home.

  • Two parts pine bark
  • One part charcoal
  • One part peat moss
  • Half part sand

Alternatively, combine three parts potting mix with one part coarse material such as orchid bark or lava rock. Otherwise, you can use a shop-bought commercial Anthurium potting mix.

Read our article to find out an appropriate soil mix condition for Anthurium.

6. Regular Fertilization

Anthurium brownii ideally grows in an organic potting mix, but it benefits from occasional plant food. Providing balanced plant food weekly or monthly will help boost leafy growth.

Ensure to provide a plant food rich in microorganisms and macronutrients, especially nitrogen to your Anthurium brownii.

Healthy plant growth diagram
Healthy plant growth diagram (Source: Dribble)

A slightly higher intake of nitrogen will quickly boost foliage growth. However, be wary about over-fertilizing the plant, quickly burning the roots and stems.

Excess fertilization encourages the accumulation of harmful salt contents in the soil, which chokes plant roots from absorbing air and nutrients.

Yellowing leaves, stunted growth, drooping foliage, and lighter, compact soil are a few indications of over-fertilization.

Tips to Fertilizer Anthurium Brownii

  • Use time-released 16-5-11 plant food for Anthurium brownii.
  • Alternatively, use a slow-release granular twice in a growing season.
  • Dilute the liquid fertilizer to one-fourth strength by mixing it with water before applying it to the plant.
  • Ensure the solution does not touch parts of the stem and leaves to prevent burns.
  • Organic compost like worm casting, manure, and bone meal may help enhance the soil quality.
  • Cut back on fertilizing in fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

Pro Tip: Provide 1 gram of a complete fertilizer, such as Osmcote 14-14-14 or Nutricote 13-13-13.

7. Growth Habit, Foliage, and Flower

Brownii is a perennial Anthurium that remains blooming year-round, but you can grow them as an annual as well.

Remove the plant and its tuber and regrow them in early spring. They are an easy-to-grow plant that requires minimal care and maintenance.

Once bloomed, you will be gifted with curly and ribbed leaves that mimic a fiddle leaf fig.

When they mature, the heart-shaped leaves with elongated petioles will develop and grow up to eight inches (20 cm) in length.

Young Anthurium leaf
Young Anthurium leaf (Source: Pixabay)

A new leaf regrows from the last developed leaf and expands rapidly over the next 2-3 weeks, depending on the amount of care.

Because all the leaves grow from a clump within the plant’s center, they often look bushier. Unlike other Anthuriums, the leaves do not die back in winter.

However, care to prune old and decayed leaves and leggy stems once in a while to keep them looking neat.

Similarly, the plant also blossoms once a year with long spindly flowers that do not look like flowers.

Anthurirum Brownii flower
Anthurium brownii flower (Pixabay)

Quick Note: Care to deadhead the flowers and dwindled vegetation to preserve your leaves for spring and summer.

8. Potting and Repotting Anthurium Brownii

Anthurium brownii is slow to moderate growing plant that only grows a few inches every year; however, the leaves may get significantly large.

It would only require repotting if it has outgrown its current pot or needs fresh potting mix.

Consider sliding out the plant and checking for root bulbs size in early spring. Consider repotting if the roots have engulfed the soil.

Signs to Repot Anthrurium Brownii

Check the plant every spring for tell-tale signs.

  • Slowed growth
  • When the roots poke outside the drainage holes or topsoil
  • Yellowing and wilting leaves
  • The soil mix looks lighter in color and compact
  • Decayed lower stems (Possible sign of root rot)

Tips to Repot Anthurium Brownii

  • As per the rule of thumb, repot it in a container 2″ large than the current one.
  • Water the soil the previous day or a few hours before to moisten it.
  • Gently slide it out and clear the roots with distilled, room-temperature water.
  • Trim off decayed and brownish-looking thin roots.
  • Take an appropriate pot and fill it with a proper soil mix.
  • Set the plant roots down, at the same depth as the previously used pot.
  • Finally, fill the rest of the container with the same potting mix. Then water it thoroughly.

Pro Tip: For a freshly bought plant, wait for a week before transplanting it to a new pot. Otherwise, let it grow in its original pot.

Similarly, choose appropriate containers for repotting your Anthurium brownii. A plastic, terracotta, or ceramic container with a few drainage holes would work best.

Here are a few recommendations.

ContainerSpecification
Classic Planter, 8" (Plastic)They are durable and lightweight. The drainage holes lie at the bottom
LE TAUCI Ceramic Plant Pots (Ceramic)4+5+6 inch, Set of 3, Planters with holes in the bottom
Plastic Planter, HOMENOTE (Plastic)Comes in five different sizes 7/6/5.5/4.8/4.5 Inch

9. Pruning Decayed and Discolored Leaves

Pruning Anthurium brownii has a positive impact on its growth, aesthetic appeal, and foliage quality.

In fact, it would only require seldom pruning in the growing season. Start pruning from the top and work your way down.

Remove dead, decayed, and withered leaves. The one looking brownish and crispy has to go.

Pruning yellow leaves
Pruning Yellow Leaves (Source: Pixabay)

Identify and remove discolored leaves. They will look pale and lack lush green color. Remove the wilted or dull leaves up until the stem’s bottom.

Pro Tip: Every part of the Anthurium brownii plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that are toxic.It is better to wear gloves before pruning.

Toxicity of Anthurium Brownii

All part of the Anthurium brownii plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that are toxic to pets and humans. The plant creates a problem when accidentally ingested or exposed to naked skin.

It mainly troubles the oropharynx of the animals, causing oral irritation, pawing at the mouth, drooling, and vomiting.

And, it causes swollen lips, tongue, and breathing difficulty in humans.

According to the University of California, the Anthurium plant comes in third and fourth-class toxicity.

Contact the American Association of Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 or ASPCA Poison Center at (800) 426-4435 for pets immediately.

Propagation Methods for Anthurium Brownii

Anthurium brownii is an easy plant to propagate. All you need is healthy stem cutting with at least one node, to begin with.

If you are a seasoned gardener, you can also try reproducing multiple plants from the seeds or root splits.

Stem node diagram
Stem node diagram (Source: Wikimedia)

However, obtaining a fresh pack of seeds can prove difficult, and the root split method can be challenging to get quick results.

Here is a quick stem-cutting propagation method for home growers.

1. Get Stem Cuttings

  • Wait until spring or summer to take fresh cuttings.
  • It is best to get cuttings in early spring when the plant starts growing.
  • Always choose healthy, green-looking stems with one or more nodes (leaf nodes) to start with.
  • Take a sterilized pruning shear or scissor (sterilized with isopropyl alcohol) and make a cut either horizontally or vertically between the bottom node.
  • Leave as little spare stem below the bottom node as possible.
  • Keep the cutting in an enclosed glass case or plastic box and leave it in a warm place.

Note: Propagating in fall or winter is possible, but it will take longer to grow than usual.

2. Using Potting Mix

Growing in a potting mix is an effective method to root and grow the stem cuttings in the same medium.

  • Apply some rooting hormone to the cutting’s end to help increase the likelihood of rooting.
  • Get a small pot, about 3-inches in diameter, and fill it with sphagnum peat moss.
  • Ensure the peat moss is not overly wet, which can rot your cuttings.
  • Gently insert the stem cutting into a smaller hole on the potting mix and cover it with a clear plastic bag to lock in moisture.
  • Now, keep it in a well-lit location with enough indirect sunlight and a temperature around 70°F (21°C).
  • It should take anywhere from a  month or two before you can witness inch-long feeder roots.
Monstera adansonii
Propagating in potting soil (Source: Unsplash)

2. Use Water Medium

The hydroponics method is another way to propagate stem cutting, and you are likely to see a slightly quick result.

  • Get a clear glass or small jar and fill it with distilled water instead of regular tap water.
  • Submerge the stem cutting with the bottom node into the water.
  • Leave it in a warm place with sufficient indirect sunlight.
  • Replace the water in the container every 5-7 days or when it turns slightly brownish.
  • You should see new roots within a month. Wait until they are at least 1-inch long.
  • Follow the above-mentioned process to transplant the stem by cutting it into a potting mix.
Rooting Stem cutting in water medium
Rooting Stem cutting in water medium (Source: Rawpixel)

Quick Tip: Anthurium brownii cuttings take several months to grow to adult size, so it’s best to propagate them in early spring.

Common Problems with Anthurium Brownii

When trying to grow a tropical plant at home, be prepared to tackle some common problems the Anthurium plant faces.

From yellowing browning foliage to plant diseases and pests, Anthurium brownii is prone to many problems.

Most problems are inflicted by improper watering, fertilizing, and moisture and temperature stress.

1. Drooping and Browning Leaves

Drooping and browning leaves are significant indicators of waterlogged soil or root rot.

Excess waterlogging may allow fungus and anaerobic microorganisms to multiply due to a lack of air inside the soil.

It will attack the roots, trapping the air and nutrients from reaching the leaves. Follow the watering schedule and overwatering diagnostics mentioned above to treat drooping and browning.

2. Brown Leaf Tips

The brown leaf tips are commonly found in plants exposed to direct sunlight or underwater.

Direct sunlight and underwatering can dry out the plant, causing transpiration (loss of water from the leaves).

When the leaves get dry, their tips will start turning crispy and brown.

Brown leaves of Monstera Adansonii (Source: Unsplash)

Change the plant’s current location to a shade with enough indirect sunlight. Otherwise, follow the watering schedule and underwatering diagnostics mentioned above to treat brown tips.

4. Floopy Stems and Leaves

Floppy leaves in Anthurium are primarily caused by Rhizoctonia fungal disease.

Also known as “damping-off,” the young stems become water-soaked and cannot support the plant’s weight.

The disease will gradually increase to the upper leaf canopy, causing floppy leaves.

Use well-drained soil and never incorporate native soil with media mixes without stem sterilizing to prevent fungus disease.

5. Common Plant Pests

Anthurium brownii is subject to the same pests found in Anthurium and other tropical species. You would mostly witness mealy bugs, spider mites, nematodes, and aphids.

Effect of Root Knot Nematode in Roots
Effect of Root-Knot Nematode in Roots (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Here is the list of pests and their symptoms;

PestSymptoms
ScalesBrown bumpy lumps on the undersides of the leaves.

Yellow or rust-colored spots can be seen on leaves
MealybugsWaxy bugs that have cotton-like substances wrapped around them on the undersides of the leaves.

Curling, wilting, and drooping of foliage.
Spider mitesYellowish halo in leaf, wilting and dropping of leaves.

The speckled appearance of foliage.
AphidsTiny grey or black-colored insect cover the leaf.
NematodeBurrowing nematodes mostly feed on fleshy roots causing stunted growth and root rot.

The plant becomes smaller and less vigorous.

Solutions

  • Water the plant using a hose to dislodge and remove spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.
  • Soak a cotton ball in Isopropyl alcohol and dab it on the infected part to kill the pests.
  • Use a blunt knife to scrape off scales.
  • Consider washing the Brownii plant with warm soapy water or insecticidal soaps.
  • Apply some Neem oil on a cotton ball and put it on the infected part to remove all kinds of pests effectively.
  • Otherwise, use Pyrethrin insecticidal spray to kill the pests effectively.
  • Solarize the soil or heat small batches to 140°F in the oven to kill nematodes.

Preventive Measures

  • Inspect new plants for signs of pests before bringing them inside.
  • Prevent carrying fresh cuttings, twigs, and grasses into the house.
  • Always purchase certified Aphid-free potting mix from the market.
  • Wash the plant leaves with clean water once a month to remove the risk of pests.
  • Use commercial potting mix for repotting to avoid the risk of nematodes.

Read more: How to Identify Insect Egss on Leaves and Treat Pest Infestation?

6. Horticultural Diseases

Anthurium brownii is prone to a few horticultural diseases commonly found in tropical plants. On the other hand, a few diseases may appear from other infected houseplants.

You would mostly witness bacterial blight, bacterial wilt, and leaf spot diseases on Anthurium brownii.

Bacterial leaf rot disease in White Hibiscus leaf.
Bacterial leaf rot disease in White Hibiscus leaf. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

The list of horticultural diseases and symptoms are as follows:

DiseaseSymptoms
Root Rot DiseaseIt is caused by Phytophthora and Pythium, leading to browning leaves or black lesions.

Roots become mushy and soft.
Leaf Spot FungusThe causative agents include Alternaria, Cercospora, Colletotrichum, and Myrothecium.

It causes brown or black circular patches along the edges of leaves.
Bacterial BlightYellowed, water-soaked lesions along the leaf margins, causing puncture.

Invading bacteria quickly spread throughout the plant
Fusarium wiltYellowing of leaves along with appearance of brown, bronze color.

Infection causes bacterial ooze (brown slime)

Solutions

  • Start with trimming the infected parts or disposing of the plants with severe infestation.
  • Prune infected roots and repot the plant in a fresh potting mix.
  • Apply fungicides containing copper, Benomyl, or Mancozeb to treat fungal infections.
  • Use fungicides with phosphorous acid to treat bacterial wilt.
  • Alternatively, spray Agromycin to treat bacterial infections.

Preventive Measures

  • Always inspect before bringing any plant inside the home.
  • Follow the watering schedule and provide ample indirect sunlight to prevent moisture or temperature stress.
  • Avoid overhead watering to prevent moistened leaves.
  • Add an electric humidifier to control humidity level as needed.
  • Prevent keeping them in damp locations that may encourage excess moisture build-up.
  • Use disease-free propagation material and sterilize pruning materials.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anthurium Brownii

How Fast does Anthurium Brownii Grow?

Anthurium brownii is a slow grower that grows a few inches every year, depending on the USDA region.

It will reach a height of 24-36 inches (60-90 cm) and a width of 15-18 in. (38-45 cm) in its lifetime.

A Brownii grown in the coastal area of Florida is more likely to develop bigger and quicker than in any other region.

Can Anthurium Brownii Survive Overwintering?

Your Anthurium Brownii plant is less likely to survive winter outside.

Bring them inside when the temperature starts dropping below 64-degrees Fahrenheit.

Alternatively, keep them under LED grow lights throughout overwinter to compensate for the lack of sunlight.

Is Growing Anthurium Brownii Beneficial?

Indeed, Anthurium brownii boasts large, green leaves that effectively absorb air-borne pollutants inside the home.

Growing one will help humidify the indoors, boost oxygen, and reduce air-borne toxins.

Anthurium brownii in a pot
Anthurium brownii in a pot (Source: Plant Corner NYC)

Conclusion

Anthurium brownii is an exceptionally easy plant to grow and own, and it demands very little time and effort from home gardeners. Ensure to provide the right conditions to get rewarded with large heart-shaped leaves that will add to the decor.

However, protect them from cold, excess moisture, and drought that may invite many problems.

Have you always been curious about the care and growing of other Anthurium? Well, favorites among growers include Anthurium Clarinervium, Anthurium Pallidiflorum, Anthurium Magnificum.

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