Ceropegia cumingiana Decne.

Ceropegia cumingiana Decne.

Ceropegia cumingiana ist recht weit verbreitet und entsprechend vielgestaltig – es wurden mindestens drei Unterarten aufgestellt, die aber mittlerweile nicht mehr anerkannt werden.

Es handelt sich um eine Liane, die ausgewachsen tatsächlich an die 10 m lang werden kann und ist damit eine der größten Arten der Gattung Ceropegia.

Die Pflanze besitzt fleischige Speicherwurzeln, die eine Länge von etwa 15 cm erreichen, Speicherknollen fehlen.

Die Blätter sind 2 bis 13 cm lang und 1,5 bis 7 cm breit und sitzen auf einem 2,5 bis 4 cm langen Stiel. Sie sind breit oval-elliptisch geformt mit einer herzförmigen oder gerundeten Blattbasis.

Die Blüten stehen an einem bis zu 8 cm langen Stiel, entweder allein oder in Gruppen von bis zu zwanzig. Sie sind, je nach Klon, zwischen 1,5 bis 3 cm lang und mehr oder weniger bunt gefärbt. [1]


Alle bisher untersuchten Ceropegia-Arten werden von Zweiflüglern (Ordnung: Diptera) bestäubt, doch die Bestäuberarten sind nur in sehr wenigen Fällen genau bekannt.

Der Bestäuber der australischen Art ist derzeit nicht bekannt, es gibt jedoch einen in frage kommenden Kandidaten, eine kleine Fliegenart aus der Familie Chloropidae (Unterfamilie Oscinellinae). Sechs dieser Fliegen wurden aus einer Blüte eines Herbarexemplars extrahiert, doch obwohl der Blüte die Pollinien fehlten, haftete an keiner der Fliegen ein Polinium, der endgültige Beweis fehlt also noch. [2]


In Queensland / Australien nennen die Ureinwohner die Pflanze Anareata und essen ihre Wurzeln. In Teilen Neuguinea werden die unterirdischen Teile ebenfalls gegessen, aber auch als Medizin verwendet. [1]


Die abgebildete Pflanze wurde nahe des Mt. Kinabalu im malaysischen Bundesstaat Sabah, im nördlichen Teil Borneos fotografiert.


Ceropegia cumingiana Decne.

Ceropegia cumingiana is quite widely distributed and hence shows a great variability – at least three subspecies were once recognized, but these are not accepted anymore by now.

It is a liana, which, when fully grown, can actually become as large as 10 m in height, and is therefore one of the largest species within the genus Ceropegia.

The plant has fleshy storage roots, which can reach a length of about 15 cm, storage tubers are not present.

The leaves are 2 to 13 cm long and 1,5 to 7 cm wide, sitting on a 2,5 to 4 cm long petiole. They are broadly ovate elliptic in shape and have a heart-shaped or rounded leaf base.

The flowers stand on an up to 8 cm long petiole, either alone or in groups of up to twenty. They are, depending on the clone, between 1,5 to 3 cm long, and more or less colourful. [1]


All Ceropegia species, examined so far, are pollinated by dipterous insects (order: Diptera), but the particular pollinater species are known only in a very few cases.

The pollinator of the Australian species is not known so far, however, there is a candidate, that seems to be qualified, a small fly species from the family Chloropidae (subfamily Oscinellinae). Six of these flies were extracted from a single flower on a herbar specimen, however, thought this flower lacked any pollinia, none of the flies had pollinia attached, so the conclusive proof is still missing. [2]


In Queensland / Australia, the natives name this plant as Anareata and eat its roots. In some parts of New Guinea the subterranean parts are eaten as well, but are also taken for medical purposes. [1]


The depicted plant was photographed near the Mt. Kinabalu in the Malaysian state of Sabah, in the northern part of Borneo.


Referenzen / References:

[1] P. V. Bruyns: Ceropegia cumingiana Decne (Asclepiadaceae) Austrobaileya 3(1): 7-11. 1989
[2] J. Ollerton; P. Forster: Diptera associated with flowers of Ceropegia cumingiana in Australia. Asklepios 66: 21-22. 1995




Fotos / Photos: Tom Ballinger; mit freundlicher Genehmigung von / by courtesy of Tom Ballinger



3 thoughts on “Ceropegia cumingiana Decne.

  1. Hi there – an interesting blog site about my favourite group of plants! Nice work. I just wanted to comment on your statement that “All Ceropegia species, examined so far, are pollinated by dipterous insect (order: Diptera), but the particular pollinator species are known only in a very few cases”

    That’s not strictly true, we have good pollinator records for quite a number of species – follow the link below to a 2009 paper of ours. There are more like this in the pipeline, including an analysis of Indian species.




  2. Hello!

    The Milichiidae species Leptometopa nilssoni Sabrosky is in fact the only species that I know to pollinate a Ceropegia species in its native range (Ceropegia albisepta in Madagascar), all other species records, as far as I know them, are of plants cultivated in Europe, and of course are then of European Diptera species.

    Please don’t be mad at me, but the paper, You are mentioning, includes of course several genera of dipteran pollinators, but no species names – so, sorry, but I do only know the genera but not the species, and I can only write about facts that I know.


    By the way, I just recently found Your paper about ant-predation of pollinators inside of Ceropegia flowers, very strange and very interesting! I hope You’ll find out much more about this plant genus!

    kind regards

    • Hi Alex – OK, I see what you’re getting at, that the exact species of fly has not been identified. That’s a fair point, though in some cases we did know the species. However small Diptera taxonomy is so poorly know we opted to use genus to increase our sample size.

      Yes, ant predation in the flowers is an interesting phenomenon, I’d like to know how often it occurs.

      All the best,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s