Ceropegia sandersonii

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Ceropegia sandersonii
2006-10-28Ceropegia07.jpg
Ceropegia sandersonii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Ceropegia
Species: C. sandersonii
Binomial name
Ceropegia sandersonii
Decne. ex Hook.f.

Ceropegia sandersonii is a species of flowering plant in the genus Ceropegia (Apocynaceae), native to Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland. Common names are parachute plant, fountain flower, and umbrella plant.

It is an evergreen, prostrate, slender twiner, nearly hairless, with sparse, succulent leaves. The roots form narrowly fusiform clusters. The distinctive greenish white funnel-shaped (having a corolla-tube) flowers are 5–7 cm long and are placed on a delicate stalk. Due the fact that the corolla lobes are partially fused, the opening of the flowers is partially inhibited. The tips of the petals do not separate and form a roof or umbrella-like dome on the flower, while the fused bottom forms the tube. The openings between the petals are also referred to as windows, hence the name windowed flowers that is also used for flowers of this type (Weberling, 1992). The flower itself serves as a biological myiophilous (fly-pollinated) pitfall-trap, that traps flies when they descend into the corolla tube. Small hairs that point downwards prevent the insect from escaping. Once trapped, the fly is thoroughly covered in pollen and only released when the flower reaches the end of its life and the hairs weaken.

This species attracts Desmometopa flies of the family Milichiidae by simulating the scent of an injured honey bee, tricking the flies into pollinating. [1]

Cultivation[edit]

In temperate regions this tender plant is cultivated as a houseplant. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[2]

References[edit]

  • Swaziland's Flora Database: Ceropegia sandersonii
  • TopTropicals Plant Catalog
  • Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to Wild Flowers Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.
  • Focko Weberling (Author), R. J. Pankhurst (Translator) (1992). Morphology of Flowers and Inflorescences. Cambridge University Press; New edition.
  • Herbert F. J. Huber: Revision of the genus Ceropegia. In: Memórias da Sociedade Broteriana, Volume 12, 1957, S.1-203, Coimbra