Wednesday, 26 April 2017

all hail the radiator plant

I first glimpsed this plant a couple of years ago, outside my favourite florist. but I was on my way to an all-day gig and couldn't get it. I had no idea what I was looking at, but it was the middle of winter and I saw the leaves with little pale green frills floating above it and thouht I had glimpsed a bizarre type of Cyclamen

No wonder I had no luck googling it. It is of course a Peperomia, AKA the Radiator Plant, one of the famous indestructibles of the lackadaisical household, albeit a rather fancy variety - Peperomia Exclusiva Lilian - and it's definitely a pot plant. In this variety, the usual rat's tail flowers have fasciated into hooked and clubbed inflorescences.

What on earth would pollinate such a bizarre flower? There doesn't seem to be any kind of scent, pollen or nectar. My attempts to find out hit a bit of a wall when I discovered that data on flowering phenology and pollination of Peperomia species are virtually non-existent.

However the hint that hoverflies and potentially self-fertilization may play a part is intriguing. Will I get seeds? Or are the mutant inflorescences infertile?


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