Ceropegia ampliata

This plant is native to South Africa: Transvaal, Natal, and the Cape province. It has been known since 1837.

This plant has fibrous roots and miniscule to invisible leaves. The flowers usually appear in September in unbelievable numbers, completely covering the plant with its large white and green flowers. This year I have kept the greenhouse at about 60° and the plant has had a few flowers on it from late December continually, with the number increasing through April and May. C. ampliata is fairly easy to grow in ordinary well-draining potting soil. I feed the plants a diluted 20-20-20 at every watering. As the plant moves outside for the summer, I will let the rains do most of the watering and help with the hose when the weather is too dry. The plant trails and then will weakly attempt to climb, my friend in Pennsylvania grows it in a hanging basket, something that I am trying this year with ampliata, nilotica, sandersonii, and a few others. In the past, I have grown it in a pot with a wire trellis pulling the new stems up through the center of the trellis and letting them fall over the outside. This works pretty well, but you have to keep helping it up the trellis before it wants to climb and the mass never becomes as stable as the real climbers like cummingiana, rendallii, and distincta.

October 2002- I've been growing this hanging basket of ampliata for about 4 years, before that it was in a pot with a trellis. I gave up trying to make it a pot plant, it really is a creeping and hanging ceropegia. The basket suits it best, where it often gives a spectacular performance beginning in September and ending in the early weeks of November. In the past I have had the plant bloom in May, which leads me to believe that its blooming cycle is set in motion by the length of daylight hours.

This shot was taken September 19th just after the plant had peaked with its number of flowers. This year there weren't as many flowers which is probably an indication that I should repot with fresh soil.

Ampliata has one of the largest flowers of all the ceropegias that I have grown, only sandersonii has a larger flower, radicans and superba have longer flowers but ampliata is the widest in diameter, wide enough to trap a good sized house fly.

And with a careful slice of my razor blade, the interior is revealed.

This close-up of the corolla lobes shows maroon interior markings that point down the corolla tube and the green veining inside. The hairs are sparse at this end of the tube and they also point downward. One of the reasons these flowers look so clean and white is the translucent iridescence of the epidermis, more apparent inside the tube.

Hairs get denser and longer toward the base of the tube culminating in a dense fly-trapping barrier at the purple ring where the base-chamber begins. The corona is at the center of the base with its extended glassy lobes.

Dr. Ollerton at the School of Environmental Science, University College Northampton in the UK was very helpful in naming the parts of the corona, here is my picture with his marks.

While photographing the interior I saw this little beetle inside the base, this was as close as I could get before it got out of the flower.