photo of the week – Ceropegia papillata



Photo: Mike Bingham; by courtesy of Mike Bingham

Rediscovery of Ceropegia cycniflora

Ceropegia cycniflora R. A. Dyer – this species was described in the year 1978, however, it was described from old photographies and dried material alone, since the species is known from only three specimens, all collected by the same collector and in the same place, the first in 1936, the other two some years later.

The species was since missing, and some believed it to be extinct (well, at least I did).


But now, in September 2015, Mr. Alcock discovered a plant that very much resembles what is known as Ceropegia cycniflora … I would call that a rediscovery!


see the plant here:

Ceropegia hirsuta Wight & Arnott

Diese Art wurde im Jahr 1834 wissenschaftlich beschrieben, sie ist auf dem Indischen Subkontinent recht weit verbreitet, kommt aber nur in den wärmeren Tieflandregionen vor.

Ceropegia hirsuta gehört zu den Arten mit einer unterirdischen Knolle, sie wächst aufrecht oder kletternd.

Die Blätter sitzen an einem ca. 2 cm langen, kräftig behaarten Stiel, sie sind 4 bis 7 cm lang und 2 bis 3,5 cm breit, elliptisch bis eiförmig, sehr dünn und beiderseits behaart.

Die Blüten entspringen wenig- bis vielblütigen Cymen, sie sind 2,8 bis 5,8 cm lang und sehr auffällig, der untere Teil ist leicht geschwollen, die Blütenröhre hell beige gefärbt und nach oben zu olivbraun oder purpurn gefleckt, die Zipfel sind sehr breit und je nachdem gelblich bis apfelgrün gefärbt. [1][3]


In Indien ist die Art unter verschiedenen Namen bekannt, Khaloola (in Hindi und in Urdu), Hamana oder Haamana (in Marathi), Khilora (in Rajasthani) und Earragadda (in Telugu), die Knollen werden als Gemüse gegessen. [1]

Bei einigen der Ureinwohner Andhra Pradeshs wird die Pflanze Paamu tiga genannt, auch hier werden die gekochten Knollen gegessen. [6]

Das Volk der Bhilla wiederum, das in einigen Regionen Gujarats, Maharashtras und Rajasthans siedelt, nennt die Art Khutti (in Bhili) und verwendet die Pflanze gegen Magenverstimmungen, wofür vier bis fünf Tage lang einmal täglich frische Knollen gegessen werden. [7][8]


Im Jahr 2001 wurde Ceropegia hirsuta auch im Nordosten Thailands entdeckt, und zwar im Pha Taem-Nationalpark nahe der Stadt Ubon Ratchthani in der gleichnamigen Provinz, wo die Art in einer Höhe von 250 bis 300 m in laubabwerfenden Dipterocarpaceen-Wäldern auf sandigen Böden wächst. Den Einwohnern dieser Gegend ist die Pflanze schon seit langem bekannt, sie nennen sie Khreua i thao bzw. Kluea li tam und verwenden sämtliche Pflanzenteile als Schmerzmittel. [4][5]


In Thailand gibt es noch eine zwergwüchsige Form dieser Art, die nur wenige Zentimeter hoch wird und deren Blüten kräftiger weinrot gemustert sind und dadurch fast einheitlich rot wirken – es ist möglich, dass sich hinter dem Namen Ceropegia hirsuta, zumindest in Thailand, verschiedene Arten verbergen.


Ceropegia hirsuta Wight & Arnott

This species was scientifically described in the year 1834, it is quite widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent, where it occurs only in the warmer low land regions.

Ceropegia hirsuta is one of the species with an subterranean tuber, it grows upright or climbing.

The leaves sit on a about 2 cm long, heavily hirsute petiole, they are 4 to 7 cm long and 2 to 3,5 cm broad, elliptic to egg-shaped, very thin and hirsute on both sides.

The flowers appear from few- to many-flowered cymes, they are 2,8 to 5,8 cm long and very conspicuous, the lower part is slightly swollen, the flower tube is light beige coloured and speckled olive brown or purple upwardly, the petals are very broad and either yellowish or apple green coloured. [1][3]


In India the species is known by several names, Khaloola (in Hindi and in Urdu), Hamana or Haamana (in Marathi), Khilora (in Rajasthani), and Erragadda (in Telugu), its tubers are eaten as a vegetable. [1]

Some of the native tribes of Andhra Pradesh call the plant Paamu tiga, also here the boiled tubers are eaten. [6]

The Bhilla tribe again, which settles in some regions of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, calls the species Khutti (in Bhili) and uses the plant as a remedy for stomach upsets, for this purpose fresh tubers are eaten once a day for four or five days. [7][8]


In the year 2001 Ceropegia hirsuta was also discovered in the north east of Thailand, namely in the Pha Taem National Park near the city of Ubon Ratchathani in the province of the same name, where the species grows at an elevation of 250 to 300 m in deciduous dipterocarp forests on sandy soils. The people in this region of course know the plant for a long time, they call it Khreua i thao resp. Kluea li tam and use all parts of it as an analgesic. [4][5]


In Thailand exists also a dwarf form of this species, which is only a few centimetres tall and whose flowers are more brightly vinaceous patterned, and which thus appear to be completely red – it is thus quite possible, that behind the name Ceropegia hirsuta, at least in Thailand, distinct species are hidden.


Referenzen / References:

[1] M. Y. Ansari: Asclepiadaceae: Genus Ceropegia. Fasc. 16: 1-34. In: Flora of India. Calcutta: Botanical Survey of India 1984
[2] K. M. Matthew: An Excursion Flora of Central Tamil Nadu, India; Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Dehli 1991
[3] Focke Albers; Ulrich Meve: Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Asclepiadaceae. Springer 2002
[4] Tanucha Boonjaras; Obchant Thaithong: Ceropegia hirsuta (Asclepiadaceae), a new record for Thailand. Thai For. Bull. 31: 1-6. 2003
[5] Wongsatit Chuakul; Ampol Boonpleng: Survey on Medicinal Plants in Ubon Ratchathani Province (Thailand). Thai Journal of Phytopharmacy 11(1): 33-54. 2004
[6] K. N. Reddy; Chiranjibi Pattanaik; C. S. Reddy; V. S. Raju: Traditional knowledge on wild food plants in Andhra Pradesh. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 6(1): 223-229. 2007
[7] S. Y. Kamble; T. N. More; S. R. Patil; S. G. Pawar; Ram Bindurani; S. L. Bodhankar: Plants used by the tribes of Northwest Maharashtra for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 7(2): 321-325. 2008
[8] S. Y. Kamble; S. R. Patil; P. S. Sawant; Sangita Sawant; S. G. Pawar; E. A. Singh: Studies on plants used in traditional medicine by Bhilla tribe of Maharashtra. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 9(3): 591-598. 2010
[9] Jeetendra Sainkhediya; Sudip Ray: Preliminary Study of Flowering Plant Diversity of Nimar Region. Biosciences Discovery 3(1): 70-72. 2012
[10] Tanveer A. Khan; Vivek V. Desai; N. R. Gawande: Four New Flowering plant Records from Satpuda Range of Jalgaon District, (MS) India. Bioscience Discovery 6(1): 45-48. 2015




Fotos / Photos: Dinesh Valke; mit freundlicher Genhemigung von / by courtesy of Dinesh Valke

the old picture – Ceropegia tristis



Ceropegia tristis Hutchinson = Ceropegia distincta var. haygarthii Schltr.

Depiction from: ‘I. B. Pole-Evans: Flowering plants of South Africa. Vol. 2. England; Reeve & Co. 1922’

(This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.)

A new locality for Ceropegia oculata?

These photos were taken by  N.S. Dungriyal, the field director of the Satpura Tiger Reserve, the show a plant that I would identify as Ceropegia oculata Hook..

The flowers are quite similar to nearly identical to a special form of the species, that had been described in 2005 as a distinct variety: Ceropegia oculata var. satpudensis Punekar, S. D. Jagtap & Deokule, this has now been reduced to synonymy with the nominate race.

If my identification turns out to be correct, then this find would probably represent a new locality for this species, since it obviously is known only from Maharashtra so far – as far as I know.




Photos: N.S. Dungriyal; by courtesy of N.S. Dungriyal

Ceropegia sp. ‘Satpura Tiger Reserve’

These plants were photographed in the Satpura Tiger Reserve in the Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh / India, it bears some similarities to Ceropegia angustifolia Wight or Ceropegia hirsuta Wight & Arnott, yet appears to be distinct from both of them.

There appears to be a climbing form (first two photos) and a non-climbing form (last photo).





Photos: N.S. Dungriyal; by courtesy of N.S. Dungriyal

Ceropegia sp. ‘Nimba Mountains’

This plant was photographed in 2012 on the Nimba Mountains (lowland area to NE, near Gbakoré, adjacent to Cavally River) in Guinea.

This may be a member of the species group around Ceropegia campanulata G. Don, however, its flower does not resemble any of the Ceropegia flowers known to me.


The upright-growing grassland species are not well known and are in need of a revision.




Photos: Peter B. Phillipson

(under creative commons licence (3.0))

Ceropegia sp. ‘Malawi’

This plant was photographed at the Natures Gift Farm; Lilonge / Malawi, it appears to be a new species, which has also been recognized as such and will probably soon (sooner or later) be described.


Photo: Günter Baumann

photo of the week – Ceropegia distincta or Ceropegia lugardae



Photo: Mike Bingham; by courtesy of Mike Bingham

Parasites and parasitism

Of course the leaves of Ceropegia are consumed by different kinds of insects, yet there appear not to be much information of such cases, but an example is given in O. A. Leistner’s “Flora of Southern Africa”, 1980.:

“It is difficult to get complete specimens with seed, flowers and leaves, as the last are usually stung by some fly and drop off when the maggots hatch.”

(source: H. R. Brownlee in 1935 while studying Ceropegia plant material) [1]


The fruit fly species Dacus apoxanthus Bezzi (family Tephritidae) is known to parasitize the flower buds of Ceropegia ampliata E. Mey., resulting in the flower buds becoming translucent, and in the flowers wilting thereafter. [2]


I hope that there will be more studies to come.



[1] O. A. Leistner: Flora of Southern Africa 27(4). Botanical Research Institute, Dept. of Agricultural Technical Services 1980
[2] Gareth Coombs; Anthony P. Dold; Craig I. Peter: Generealized fly-pollination in Ceropegia ampliata (Apocynaceae – Asclepiadoideae): teh role of trapping hairs in pollen export and receipt. Plant Systematics and Evolution 296(1): 137-148. 2011


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