Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Parachute Plant

What a cool little vine this plant is!

Ceropegia sandersonii (or parachute plant, or umbrella plant) is a South African native succulent. It's fleshy stems enable the plant to essentially stockpile water, for use during the long periods between rain.

The flower structure is amazing, as are most of the flowers in the Ceropegia genus. The pollinators of these plants are flies. They are attracted to the plant because the flowers smell like rotten garbage and the flies mistakenly assume that there is some tasty carrion at the base of the tubular structure (I didn't smell anything from this plant, so it's hardly noxious). Hairs along the inside of the tube hinder the fly's speedy escape, ensuring that he provides a thorough pollen exchange among two specimens of Ceropegia sandersonii.

They look so alien. Like jellyfish, or some kind of spaceship in a sci-fi movie.

Keros is Greek for wax and -pegia is derivative of the Greek word for fountain, thus the genus name pays homage to the plant's ability to sustain itself during drought.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful , interesting plants.
Cerepegia sandersonii, parachute plant.
there are some really lovely ones and they grow so easily form cuttings, like all succulents.

Invertir en oro said...

Wow! great blog. I know you went surfing one past New Years Day, so this is sans wet suit, san boots, gloves hat and so on. Congrats.