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 ….

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References:

[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.

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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.

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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

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c-speciosa-lm

c-speciosa-lm1

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

http://www.zambiaflora.com

Photo of the week – Ceropegia racemosa ssp. setifera

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c-r-setifera-bs-140417-1

Photo: B. Strohbach

http://www.southernafricanplants.net
(Free use of the information and of the photographs is granted for non-commercial and educational purposes.)

Photo of the week – Ceropegia concanensis

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c-concanensis-dv-070417-1

Photo: Dinesh Valke; by courtesy of Dinesh Valke

http://www.flickr.com/photos/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.

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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.

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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

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c.s.v.nephroloba.rvb

Foto / Photo: Robert v. Blittersdorff

http://www.westafricanplants.senckenberg.de

Photo of the week – Ceropegia vincaefolia

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c-vincaefolia-jp-310317-1

Photo: Jayesh Pail

(under creative commons license (2.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0

Botanical drawings – Ceropegia juncea

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Ceropegia juncea Roxb.

Depiction from: ‘R. Wight: Icones Plantarum Indiae Orientalis. Madras: published by J.B. Pharoah for the author 1840-1853’

(public domain)

Photo of the week – Ceropegia attenuata

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c-attenuata-jp-240317-1

Photo: Jayesh Pail

(under creative commons license (2.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0

Photo of the week – Ceropegia macmasteri

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c-macmasteri-ms-170317-1

Photo: Marco Schmidt

http://www.africanplants.senckenberg.de

Ceropegia mahabalei Hemadri & M. Y. Ansari

Diese Art ist in Maharashtra endemisch, wo verstreute Populationen mit wenigen Pflanzen in verschiedenen Distrikten, meist an Hängen grasbewachsener Hügel, bekannt sind. [4]

~~~

Ceropegia mahabalei gehört zu den nicht kletternden Arten. Es handelt sich um eine aufrecht wachsende Staude, deren Triebe unterirdischen Knollen entspringen.

Die sehr schmal lanzettförmigen Blätter sind etwa 10 cm lang aber nur 0,5 cm breit.

Die Blüten sind immerhin zwischen 5,5 und 10 cm lang. Der untere Teil der Blüte ist hellgrün gefärbt, die Blütenröhre ist gelbbraun gefleckt, die zusammengewachsenen Blütenzipfel sind dunkelgrün. Innen ist die Blüte purpurn gefärbt.

Der verbreitetste indische Name dieser Art lautet Gauti Kharpudi oder Gavati Kharpudi. [1][4]

~~~

Die Art ist vor allem durch Beweidung und illegales Sammeln stark bedroht, wird aber mittlerweile erfolgreich in vitro vermehrt. [3][4]

~~~

Eine sehr interessante Population von Pflanzen aus dem Pune-Distrikt in Maharashtra wurde 2012 als neue Varietät, Ceropegia mahabalei var. hemalatae S. S. Rahangdale & S. R. Rahangdale, beschrieben. [2]

~~~

Diese Pflanzen erscheinen jedoch wie eine perfekte Mischung aus Ceropegia mahabalei und Ceropegia oculata Hook., und sind, in meinen Augen, tatsächlich natürliche Hybriden der beiden Arten.

~~~

Die Blätter sind gestielt, breit lanzettförmig, die Ränder etwas gewellt, an der Basis der Mittelrippe befinden sich zwei Drüsen.

Die Infloreszenzen sind monochasiale Cymen, die Blüten sind nicht ganz 9 cm lang. Die Petalen erreichen eine Länge von 1,5 bis 2,5 cm, sie sind fluoreszierend grün gefärbt, an der Basis behaart, die Corollaloben sind nur am Ende verbunden und außen behaart. [2]

Die Blüten sind perfekte Mischungen aus Ceropegia mahabalei und Ceropegia oculata.

~~~

Schließlich findet sich in M. Y. Ansaris ‘Asclepiadaceae: Genus Ceropegia’ aus dem Jahr 1984 ein Foto einer Blüte von Ceropegia oculata, die nahezu identisch ist mit den Fotos, die man in der Beschreibung der ‚Varietät‘ findet. [1]

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Ceropegia mahabalei Hemadri & M. Y. Ansari

This species is endemic to Maharashtra, where scattered populations with few plants are known to exist in several districts, almost always growing on grassy slopes of hills. [4]

~~~

Ceropegia mahabalei belongs to the not climbing species. It is an upright growing perennial; the stems grow from a subterranean tuber.

The very narrow leaves are about 10 cm in length but only 0,5 cm wide.

The flowers are nevertheless between 5,5 to 10 cm in length. The upper part of the flower is light green, the flower-tube is mottled yellowish brown, the united petals are dark green. The inside of the flower is crimson.

The most popular Indian name of the plant is Gauti Kharpudi or Gavati Kharputi. [1][4]

~~~

The species is highly threatened especially by grazing and illegal collecting, but is now successfully propagated by in vitro cultivation. [3][4]

~~~

A very interesting population of plants, found in the Pune District of Maharashtra, was described as a new variety, Ceropegia mahabalei var. hemalatae S. S. Rahangdale & S. R. Rahangdale, in 2012. [2]

~~~

These plants, however, very perfectly look like a cross between Ceropegia mahabalei and Ceropegia oculata Hook., and in my opinion, in fact are nothing but natural hybrids between these two species.

~~~

The leaves are petiolate, lanceolate in shape, the margins slightly wavy, they have two glands at the base of the mid-vein.

The inflorescences are monochasial cymes, the flowers are less than 9 cm long. The corolla beak reaches a length of 1,5 to 2,5 cm, it is fluorescent green in color, hairy at the base, the corolla lobes are free except for the apex and are hairy on the outside. [2]

The flowers are perfect in-betweens of Ceropegia mahabalei and Ceropegia oculata.

~~~

Finally, M. Y. Ansari’s “Asclepiadaceae: Genus Ceropegia” from 1984 contains a flower photo of Ceropegia oculata which is almost identical to the photo that is attached to the description of this ‘variety’. [1]

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Referenzen / References:

[1] M. Y. Ansari: Asclepiadaceae: Genus Ceropegia. Fasc. 16: 1-34. In: Flora of India. Calcutta: Botanical Survey of India 1984
[2] S. S. Rahangdale; S. R. Rahangdale: Variety novae of Ceropegia mahabalei Hemadri et. Ansari [Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae]. The Indian Forester 138(2): 201-203. 2012
[3] Anuradha S. Upadhye; Priyanka B. Waghamode; Pallavi M. Dhavare; Namrata S. Gaikwad: Standarization and re-introduction of Critically Endangered Ceropegia mahabalei Hemadri and Ansari by in vitro propagation. Annals of Plant Sciences 4(2): 987-993. 2015
[4] Jui Pethe; Amit Tillu: Additional records of the highly threatened Ceropegia mahabalei Hemadri & Ansari (Asclepiadoideae: Apocynaceae) from Nashik District, Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(5): 8844–8845. 2016

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c-mahabalei-at-jp

Foto aus / Photo from: Jui Pethe; Amit Tillu: Additional records of the highly threatened Ceropegia mahabalei Hemadri & Ansari (Asclepiadoideae: Apocynaceae) from Nashik District, Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(5): 8844–8845. 2016

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0