Friday, June 19, 2009

Random plant event: Columnea fruit

These pictures are left over from work, and are consequently a few months old, just so you know.

In I want to say November last year, we ordered some hanging baskets of lipstick plants (Aeschynanthus lobbianus) from our tropical supplier, but we received a few of these NOID Columneas (goldfish plants) along with them. Which, I dunno. My impression of them was that the Columneas basically sucked. It might have been our fault, of course, but they didn't seem to do as well as the Aeschynanthus: they yellowed and lost a lot of leaves, and occasionally lost entire branches. They bloomed, but only sporadically, and were consequently punished by being heavily cut back (we propagated the cuttings by rooting in vermiculite: most of them made it) and stuck in a dark, wet spot where last I knew they were obligingly rotting.

One of the sporadic flowers. Better if opened in a separate window -- did you know the flowers were hairy?

So, overall kind of a disappointing experience. However, they did do one cool thing that the more responsible Aeschynanthus did not: they somehow managed to get themselves pollinated. Or at least one of the flowers did. This is what a Columnea fruit looks like:

I don't know whether this qualifies as a ripe fruit or not; it didn't survive long enough to turn any other colors, but maybe it wouldn't have anyway. When the fruit did fall off, the inside walls were also found to be white, and a bunch of tiny (roughly strawberry-seed-sized) seeds were attached to them. I didn't get a picture. Sorry.

I still like Aeschynanthus better, though the entire gesneriad family is getting on my nerves lately. Especially Streptocarpus.

1 comment:

Hermes said...

I've flowered them but never got a fruit, how great to see.