April 2017

Botanical drawings – Ceropegia fusca


Ceropegia fusca Bolle

Depiction from: ‘Curtis’s Botanical Magazine 132. 1906’

(public domain)


Photo of the week – Ceropegia intermedia



Photo: L. Shyamal

(under creatice commons license (3.0))

Unboxing …

This time I ordered plants from the Röhner-Versand, for the first time.

Here we go.:

the packet … quite big

lots of styrofoam flakes and a leaf looking out … in fact I’m very happy with these flakes, cause I really need them for draining the plant pots   🙂

the plants, each wrapped in paper and wrapped up again in a paper bag, fine …   🙂

here they are: Ceropegia ballyana (my very first one), Ceropegia radicans, and Ceropegia variegata, the plants are very healthy and quite large, this is indeed a good bargain

What a fine day!   😛

Photo of the week – Ceropegia ampliata



Photo: Pilot Micha

(under creative commons license (2.0))

Interactions with animals

It is well known that Ceropegia spp. are pollinated by small to very small flies from several families, so it is not really a surprise to find predatory invertebrates like spiders at the flowers or near the flowers.

One such example can be found on page 14 in P. G. Archer’s ‘Kenya Ceropegia Scrapbook’ from 1992, where a crab spider is photographed sitting very prominently close to a flower of a Ceropegia abyssinica Decne. ready for action.


When Prof. J. Ollerton, who investigates pollinators and pollinator-plant-interactions in great detail, dissected flowers of ca. 50 years old herbarium specimens of Ceropegia nilotica Kotschy, he did not only found dried flies on occasion but discovered in one of the flowers two (unidentified) ants – caught in the act; one of them still had a part of a fly wing in its mouth parts, meaning it has been collected and preserved in the act of eating one of the probable pollinators!

Well, this is obviously still the only known case of ants eating flies inside a Ceropegia flower so far, I personally do not know of any other one.

But of course it leads to several questions:

Does that occur more often?
Does that occur all over Ceropegia’s range?
Which ant species are involved?

… and so on ….


BTW: According to a very recent study, Ceropegia nilotica mostly attracts flies from the genus Desmometopa, so-called freeloader flies (family Milichiidae), and from the genus Forcipomyia, biting midges (family Ceratopogonidae). [2]

… more of that is coming soon ….



[1] Jeff Ollerton: Fly trapping in Ceropegia flowers – evidence of ant-predation on pollinators. Asklepios 77: 31-32. 1999
[2] Annemarie Heiduk; Irina Brake; Michael v. Tschirnhaus; Jean-Paul Haenni; Raymond Miller; John Hash; Samuel Prieto-Benítez; Andreas Jürgens; Steven D. Johnson; Stephan Schulz; Sigrid Liede-Schumann; Ulrich Meve; Stefan Dötterl: Floral scent and pollinators of Ceropegia trap flowers. Flora; puplished online: 1-Feb-2017

Ceropegia speciosa H. Huber

Diese Art ist eine bis zu 2 m groß werdende Kletterpflanze mit relativ großen Blättern.

Die Blüten sind ebenfalls recht groß und ähneln in ihrer Form ein wenig den Blüten von Ceropegia haygarthii Schltr. oder Ceropegia rhynchantha Schltr..


In Malawi ist die Art vom Mount Mchese bekannt, in Tansania findet man sie in den Kiboriani-Mountains. In Sambia wächst die Art in Galeriewäldern, die von Arten wie Brachystegia spiciformis Benth., Craterispermum schweinfurthii Hiern, Englerophyton magalismontanum (Sond.) Heine & J. H. Hemsl., Thunbergia petersiana Lindau, Uapaca lissopyrena Radcl.-Sm. und Uapaca sansibarica Pax dominiert werden.


Ceropegia speciosa H. Huber

This species is an up to 2 m tall climbing plant with relatively large leaves.

The flowers are quite large too and are somewhat similar in shape to the flowers of Ceropegia haygarthii Schltr. or Ceropegia rhynchantha Schltr..


In Malawi the species is known from Mount Mchese, in Tanzania it is found in the Kiboriani Mountains. In Zambia, the species grows within gallery forests dominated by species like Brachystegia spiciformis Benth., Craterispermum schweinfurthii Hiern, Englerophyton magalismontanum (Sond.) Heine & J. H. Hemsl., Thunbergia petersiana Lindau, Uapaca lissopyrena Radcl.-Sm. and Uapaca sansibarica Pax.


Referenzen / References:

[1] Herbert H. Huber: Revision der Gattung Ceropegia. Memórias da Sociedade Broteriana 12: 1-203. 1957
[2] Jonathan Timberlake; Julian Bayliss; Tereza Alves; Jorge Francisco; Tim Harris; David Nangoma; Camila de Sousa: Biodiversity and Conservation of Mchese Mountain, Malawi. Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London: 1-71. 2009




Fotos / Photos: Lari Merret; mit freundlicher Genehmigung von / by courtesy of Lari Merret


Photo of the week – Ceropegia racemosa ssp. setifera



Photo: B. Strohbach

(Free use of the information and of the photographs is granted for non-commercial and educational purposes.)

Photo of the week – Ceropegia concanensis



Photo: Dinesh Valke; by courtesy of Dinesh Valke


Ceropegia nephroloba (H. Huber) Bally

Ceropegia nephroloba gilt offiziell als Varietät der Art Ceropegia sobolifera N. E. Br. und wird daher unter dem Namen Ceropegia sobolifera var. nephroloba H. Huber geführt.


Die Knolle hat einen Durchmesser von ca. 2 cm.

Der Trieb ist windend, der unterste Teil ist recht dick, wächst unterirdisch und ist etwas bewurzelt, der obere Teil ist dünn und drahtig.

Die Blätter sind rund bis pfeilförmig, bis zu 4 cm lang und haben einen 1,5 cm langen Stiel.

Die Blüten ähneln ziemlich denen der Ceropegia sobolifera.


Ceropegia nephroloba ist in Simbabwe und Tansania beheimatet, während Ceropegia sobolifera ausschließlich im Hochland Äthiopiens vorkommt, und während Ceropegia nephroloba unterirdische Speicherknollen ausbildet, besitzt Ceropegia sobolifera ein rhizomartiges Wurzelsystem – auch dies eigentlich ein deutlicher Hinweis auf eher entfernte Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen. [1][2]


Meines Erachtens kann man die beiden Pflanzen bei allen äußeren Ähnlichkeiten nicht als eine Art zusammenfassen, ich führe die ‘Varietät’ daher hier als eigenständiges Taxon.


Ceropegia nephroloba (H. Huber) Bally

Ceropegia nephroloba is officially considered a variety of the species Ceropegia sobolifera N. E. Br., and is therefore named Ceropegia sobolifera var. nephroloba H. Huber.


The tuber has a size of about 2 cm in diameter.

The stem is twining, the lowest part is quite thick, grows below the ground and bears some roots, the upper part is quite thin and wiry.

The leaves are round to arrow-shaped, up to about 4 cm long and have a 1,5 cm long petiole.

The flowers are quite similar to those of Ceropegia sobolifera.


Ceropegia nephroloba is native to Zimbabwe and Tanzania, while Ceropegia sobolifera occurs exclusively in the highlands of Ethiopia, and furthermore Ceropegia nephroloba forms subterranean storage tubers, while Ceropegia sobolifera has a rhizomatous root system – this too is actually a quite obvious evidence for more distinct relationships. [1][2]


In my opinion these both plants, whith all their external similaryties cannot be lumped as a single species, thus I will treat the ‘variety’ here as a distinct taxon.


Referenzen / References:

[1] Focke Albers; Ulrich Meve: Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Asclepiadaceae. Springer 2002
[2] P. Siro Masinde: Two new Ceropegia (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae-Ceropegiaieae) species from Kenya. Kew Bulletin 59(2): 241-245. 2004



Foto / Photo: Robert v. Blittersdorff