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Ceropegia distincta.jpg
Ceropegia distincta var. haygarthii
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Ceropegieae
Genus: Ceropegia

Ceropegia is a genus of plants within the family Apocynaceae, native to Africa, southern Asia, and Australia.[1][2] It was named by Carl Linnaeus, who first described this genus in his Genera plantarum, which appeared in 1737.[3] Linnaeus referred to the description and picture of a plant in the Horti Malabarici as the plant for which the genus was created.[4] In 1753 he named this species as Ceropegia candelabrum.[5] Linnaeus did not explain the etymology but later explanations stated that the name Ceropegia was from the Greek[6] word keropegion κηροπηγɩον.[7][8] This means candelabrum in Latin, which has a broader range than the modern word - "a candlestick, a branched candlestick, a chandelier, candelabrum, or also lamp-stand, light-stand, sometimes of exquisite workmanship".[9]

An alternative explanation for the name was given later by William Jackson Hooker in 1830 in Curtis's Botanical Magazine in the description of Ceropegia elegans: "From κηρός, wax, and πηγή, a fountain, in allusion to the delicate, waxy umbels of some species".[10] However, four years later Hooker gave the etymology in the description in the same periodical of Ceropegia lushii as "remarkable for the peculiar shape of its flowers, frequently arranged in umbels, hence its name κηροπηγɩον, a candelabrum, or lamp-stand".[11]

They have many common names including lantern flower, parasol flower, parachute flower, bushman's pipe, string of hearts, snake creeper, wine-glass vine, rosary vine, and necklace vine.

Ceropegia species are traded, kept, and propagated as ornamental plants.[12] In Africa, the roots and leaves of some species are eaten raw[13] and the tubers in India are eaten raw or stewed in curries.[11]


The stems are vining or trailing in most species, though a few species from the Canary Islands have erect growth habits. Among some species, such as Ceropegia woodii, the nodes swell, and the roots similarly expand to form tubers beneath the soil surface. The leaves are simple and opposite, although they can be rudimentary or absent. Especially in certain succulent species, the leaves may also be thick and fleshy.

The flowers have a tubular corolla with five petals most often fused at the tips, forming an umbrella-like canopy, a cage, or appendage-like antennae.[14] The flowers of this genus are adapted for pollination by flies. A great diversity of fly species are associated with ceropegias. The flowers are often inflated and fused at several points, forming a cage. Flies become momentarily trapped inside, accomplishing pollination as they move about.[12]


The genus Ceropegia belongs to the subfamily Asclepiadoideae (milkweeds) within the family Apocynaceae. Species of this genus bear similarities to the carrion flowers or stapelias. There are at least 420 known species.[15] More are being discovered and described regularly.[12][16] They are distributed throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar to the Arabian Peninsula, southeast Asia, the Canary Islands, the tropical Pacific, and Australia.[12]

A generic complex, with many interesting taxonomic problems at both generic and specific level, is formed by three genera: Ceropegia, Brachystelma and Riocreuxia.

Selected species[edit]

  1. Ceropegia africana (South Africa)
  2. Ceropegia ampliata (South Africa)
  3. Ceropegia anjanerica (Western Ghats, India)[17]
  4. Ceropegia antennifera (South Africa)
  5. Ceropegia arabica (Arabia)
  6. Ceropegia arenaria
  7. Ceropegia aridicola
  8. Ceropegia aristolochoides (Senegal to Ethiopia)
  9. Ceropegia armandii (Madagascar)
  10. Ceropegia ballyana (Kenya)
  11. Ceropegia barbarta (South Africa)
  12. Ceropegia barkleyi (South Africa)
  13. Ceropegia bonafouxii (Namibia)
  14. Ceropegia bosseri (Madagascar)
  15. Ceropegia cancellata (South Africa)
  16. Ceropegia candelabrum (Asia)
  17. Ceropegia carnosa (South Africa)
  18. Ceropegia ceratophora (Canary Islands)
  19. Ceropegia chrysantha (Canary Islands)
  20. Ceropegia cimiciodora (South Africa)
  21. Ceropegia crassifolia (southern Africa)
  22. Ceropegia debilis
  23. Ceropegia decidua (eastern Africa)
  24. Ceropegia denticulata (tropical Africa)
  25. Ceropegia devecchii (eastern Africa)
  26. Ceropegia dichotoma (Canary Islands)
  27. Ceropegia dimorpha (Madagascar)
  28. Ceropegia dinteri (Namibia)
  29. Ceropegia distincta (Zanzibar)
  30. Ceropegia elegans
  31. Ceropegia filiformis (South Africa)
  32. Ceropegia fimbriata (South Africa)
  33. Ceropegia fusca (Canary Islands)
  34. Ceropegia galeata (Kenya)
  35. Ceropegia gemmifera - Togo tangle
  36. Ceropegia haygarthii (South Africa)
  37. Ceropegia hians (Canary Islands)
  38. Ceropegia intermedia (India)
  39. Ceropegia beddomei (Western Ghats, India)
  40. Ceropegia jainii (Western Ghats, India)[18]
  41. Ceropegia juncea (Coast of Coromandel, India)
  42. Ceropegia krainzii (Canary Islands)
  43. Ceropegia leroyi (Madagascar)
  44. Ceropegia linearis (South Africa)
  45. Ceropegia lugardae (eastern Africa)
  46. Ceropegia multiflora (southern Africa)
  47. Ceropegia nilotica (eastern Africa)
  48. Ceropegia pachystelma (southern Africa)
  49. Ceropegia petignatii (Madagascar)
  50. Ceropegia racemosa (tropical Africa)
  51. Ceropegia radicans (South Africa)
  52. Ceropegia rendallii (South Africa)
  53. Ceropegia robynsiana (Congo)
  54. Ceropegia rupicola (Arabia)
  55. Ceropegia sandersonii (southern Africa)
  56. Ceropegia senegalensis (Senegal)
  57. Ceropegia seticorona (eastern Africa)
  58. Ceropegia somaliensis (eastern Africa)
  59. Ceropegia stapeliiformis (South Africa)
  60. Ceropegia stentii (South Africa)
  61. Ceropegia striata (Madagascar)
  62. Ceropegia succulenta
  63. Ceropegia superba (Arabia)
  64. Ceropegia turricula (South Africa)
  65. Ceropegia variegata (Arabia)
  66. Ceropegia verrucosa
  67. Ceropegia vincifolia (Western Ghats, India)
  68. Ceropegia viridis (Madagascar)
  69. Ceropegia woodii - string of hearts
  70. Ceropegia zeyheri (South Africa)



  1. ^ Bruyns, P. V. & P. I. Forster. 1991. Recircumscription of the Stapelieae (Asclepiadaceae). Taxon 40(3): 381–391
  2. ^ Flora of China Vol. 16 Page 266 吊灯花属 diao deng hua shu Ceropegia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 211. 1753.
  3. ^ Linnaei, Caroli (1737). Genera plantarum... Leiden: Conradum Wishoff. p. 65. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  4. ^ Rhede (or Reede) tot Drakestein, Hendrik (1689). Horti Malabarici Pars Nona. Vol. 9. Amsterdam. pp. 27–28. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  5. ^ Linnaei, Caroli (1753). Species plantarum... Tomus I. Stockholm: Laurentii Salvii. p. 211. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  6. ^ Stephano, Henr. (1572). Thesauri linguæ Græcæ Tomus II. Henrico Stephano. p. 193. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  7. ^ Nemnich, Philipp Andreas (1793). Allgemeines Polyglotten-Lexicon der Naturgeschichte mit erklaerenden Anmerkungen. Vol. 1. Hamburg: Licentiat Nemnich. p. 954. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  8. ^ Wilkes, John (1810). Encyclopædia Londinensis Vol. IV. London: J. Adlard. p. 42. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  9. ^ Lewis, Charlton T; Short, Charles. "A Latin Dictionary". Perseus Digital Library. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  10. ^ Hooker, William Jackson (1830). "Ceropegia elegans. Beautiful Ceropegia". Curtis's Botanical Magazine. 57: Folio 3015. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  11. ^ a b Hooker, William Jackson (1834). "Ceropegia Lushii. Mr. Lush's Ceropegia". Curtis's Botanical Magazine. 61: Folio 3300. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d Ollerton, J., Masinde, S., Meve, U., Picker, M., & Whittington, A. (2009). Fly pollination in Ceropegia (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae): biogeographic and phylogenetic perspectives.[dead link] Annals of Botany, mcp072.
  13. ^ Pieroni, Andrea (2005). Prance, Ghillean; Nesbitt, Mark (eds.). The Cultural History of Plants. Routledge. p. 30. ISBN 0415927463.
  14. ^ Dyer, R.A. 1983. Ceropegia, Brachystelma and Riocreuxia in Southern Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.
  15. ^ Govaerts, Rafaël. "Ceropegia L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  16. ^ Herbert F. J. Huber: Revision of the genus Ceropegia. In: Memórias da Sociedade Broteriana, Volume 12, 1957, S.1-203, Coimbra
  17. ^ Pethe, Jui; Tillu, Amit; Watve, Aparna (March 2015). "Threat status assessment of Ceropegia anjanerica Malpure et al. (Magnoliopsida: Gentianales: Apocynaceae) from Anjaneri Hills, Nashik District, Maharashtra, India". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 7 (3). doi:10.11609/JoTT.o3772.6965-71.
  18. ^ "Ceropegia jainii M.Y. Ansari & B.G. Kulkarni | Species".

External links[edit]