Ceropegia zeyheri – or rather not?
This is a plant, commonly sold as Ceropegia zeyheri, not only in Germany but also all over Europe – but it isn’t C. zeyheri!
The leaves are much too large and actually not scale-like as they should be.
I made a dissection through one of the faded flowers of my plant and exposed its gynostegial corona to compare it to the material known to me (in fact just some drawings). They are indeed very distinct and do not resemble each other, the gynostegium is more like that of C. distincta and its allies, but in no way identical to that of the real C. zeyheri.
The shape of the flower is quite distinct from that of the true C. zeyheri – yet, it does not really match that of any other species known to me, the exterior is completey covered with fine hair, a feature, that is found very rarely in that way, for example in C. somalensis.
The inner surface of the lower third of the corolla is dark purple coloured, while in C. zeyheri the basal inflation of the flower has longitudinal, darkened lines on the inner surface.
This plant may actually be a hybrid of C. zeyheri with perhaps C. distincta or even with C. somalensis!
All photographs: Alexander Lang