The Wadi Al-Uss enigma
There are so many forms of both subspecies of Ceropegia aristolochioides, that it seems almost impossible to say to which subspecies the particular forms belong.
I’d like to find out if the plants, filed as Ceropegia aristolochioides ssp. deflersiana, are in fact what they are supposed to be.
It is not possible to recognize the affiliation to one of the subspecies from any external part of the plant beside the carpel of the flower, this is glabrous in the nominate subspecies, but hirsute in the ssp. deflersiana. The form of the flower may be somewhat narrower in the arabian subspecies, but this is by far not always the case, the same can be said about the colouration, the colour of the flower doesn’t mean a thing.
There is a clone in trade, which is named Wadi Al-Uss (in variant forms of spelling), the sad thing is, there are two completely different plants to be found by that name (you can see both of them pictured below).
One has narrow, yellowish flowers and belongs indeed most probably to the ssp. deflersiana, as it is
almost identical to a clone from a place named Al-Qaidah in the Yemen (Miroslav Řičánek; Pavel Hanáček: Some notes on the succulent Asclepiadaceae of Yemen. Asklepios 74: 7-12, 1998).
The other one is more like a typical plant from the nominate ssp., but may in fact also belong to the arabian subspecies. It can, however, – oh no, please kill me – also be found labeled as Ceropegia aristolochioides, the nominate race.
As I mentioned before, both clones can be found under the name ‘Wadi Al-Uss’ – so who is who?
– Miroslav Řičánek; Pavel Hanáček: Some notes on the succulent Asclepiadaceae of Yemen. Asklepios 74: 7-12, 1998
both photos: Erwin Geiger; by courtesy of Erwin Geiger