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This plant is commonly found in cultivation as Ceropegia adrianae.
Origin and Habitat: Ihosy area (southern central Madagascar).
Altitude range: Ceropegia bosseri occurs at about 1500m elevation.
Habitat and ecology: This species grows on granite hills.
- Ceropegia bosseri Rauh & Buchloh
Ceropegia bosseri Rauh & Buchloh
Kakteen Sukk. 16: 226 1965.
- Ceropegia bosseri Rauh & Buchloh
- Ceropegia bosseri var. razafindratsirana Rauh & Buchloh
Description: Ceropegia bosseri (syn: Ceropegia adrienneae) is a strange lizard like ceroepegia that originates from Madagascar. It produces a characteristic succulent stem in its vegetative stage; the stems at this stage are typically highly succulent, compact and comparatively short (about 8 cm), but eventually, once the plant has sufficiently matured, it begins its reproductive stage, and at this time, it produces thin, long, cylindrical stems which typically climb several decimetres over anything in its path, and produce numerous terminal flowers, with the curious vase shaped floral tubes, topped with a distinctive birdcage dome of petals with their tips united. The succulent stems of this species are very peculiar, looking something like a zipper, grappling hook, or a boat anchor and act as hooked whips that enable this plant to attach onto surrounding vegetation. Plants in cultivation will tend to produce more scrambling growth, seldom growing upright more than a centimetres tall. The stems are tan, pink and dark green (almost black), but the overall impression is that they have a greenish grey that gives these stems an appearance of a dead stick. The hooked stem segments produces very short lance-shaped leaves which are typically dropped within a few weeks or months - an adaptation to limit moisture loss during an extended dry season
Derivation of specific name: The specific name commemorates Jean Marie Bosser (23 December 1922 – 6 December 2013), sometimes listed as Jean-Michel Bosser, who discovered this plant in southern central Madagascar. It was a French botanist and agricultural engineer who worked extensively in Madagascar and Mauritius.
Stem: Succulents, creeping-decumbent. Vegetative stems acutely 4-angled, compressed, 1-4 cm thick, thickest at the node, brown to grey-green, rough-verrucose, furnished with tubercles being horizontally elongated to 10-15 mm. Reproductive stems, thin, long, cylindrical which typically climb. The floral shoots die off after the fruits have ripened.
Leaves: Deciduous, sessile, dark green, succulent, round-ovate, 10-12mm long, 10 mm wide, apex shortly acuminate, margins with white, curled hairs; stipules present.
Inflorescences: Terminal, 1-6-flowered, Peduncle 1 cm long.
Flowers: Up to 4.5 cm long. Corolla base inflated, inversely conical, depressed above, blue-green, pale red spotted, orifice filled with stiff white hairs; corolla tube cylindrical below, funnel-shaped above, forming 5 windows. Corolla lobes strongly replicate, dark brown above, pale green below, margins with long white and violet vibratile hairs. Corona sessile, greenish-white, 3 x 3 mm, shallowly bowl-shaped. Outer corona-lobes deeply bifid down to the limb of the corona into appendages, 2 mm long and erect. Inner corona-lobes 2 x 0.3 mm, subulate, erect-connivent. Pollinia ovoid, 0.4 x 0.25 mm.
Similar species. Ceropegia bosseri belongs to a complex that includes a number of species and varieties of Ceropegias with similar, dimorphic stems. Ceropegia bosseri is distinguished from Ceropegia petignatii only by the longer corolla lobes and the stipitate gynostegium. Both belong probably to the same `bio-species'. It is also similar to Ceropegia armandii, but has larger leaves and different, tubular flowers and to Ceropegia simoneae, which differs in colour, texture and more importantly flower.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Werner Rauh, Herman Schwartz “Succulent and xerophytic plants of Madagascar”, Volume 2, Strawberry Press, 1998
2) Focke Albers, Ulrich Meve “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Asclepiadaceae” Springer Science & Business Media, 06 december 2012
3) The Central Ohio Cactus and Succulent Society: Plant of the Month “Ceropegia pettignatii (Syn. Ceropegia adrienneae? Syn. Ceropegia bosserii?)” <http://www.columbus-cactus-club.webs.com/Ceropegia%20pettignattii.htm>
4) “Ceropegia adrienneae Rauh et Gerold, deux nouvelles espèces dans le genre Ceropegia, section Dimorpha (Asclepediaceae), du sud-ouest de Madagascar”. Rauh W. 1998/3.
5) Ulrich MEVE. and Sigrid LIEDE “A Conspectus of Ceropegia L. (Asclepiadaceae) in Madagascar, and the Establishment of C. sect. Dimorpha” Phyton (Horn, Austria)Vol. 34 Fasc. 1, pp 131-141, 30. 6. 1994 >http://www.zobodat.at/pdf/PHY_34_1_0131-0141.pdf>
6) Wikipedia contributors. "Jean Marie Bosser." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Jun. 2016. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
Cultivation and Propagation: Ceropegia bosseri is a xerophytic plant adapted to dry soils, that can be grown in greenhouses with other succulents, but it can also be grown on window-sills. It is reputed quite difficult to grow, and it can be quite frustrating for the 'beginner'. If one waters too sparingly, the brown sticks shrivel. A tiny bit more water results in rot despite having the plant in very well draining soil and growing it in full sun. During the growing period it requires heat, light and adequate watering. Sometime a plant that formerly grew very well, suddenly dies off. But in fact this 'dying' is a quite normal part of the life cycle in this species. However the flowers are most interesting and worth the trouble, only bearing in mind that this species benefits from slightly warmer winter than others.
Growth rate: It is a relatively rapidly growing and easily flowering species that will make clumps given the best conditions.
Soils: It likes very porous mineral cactus mix soil (mildly acidic), but can become too elongated if compost is too rich.
Repotting: This plant needs plenty of space for its roots, repotting should be done every other year or when the it has outgrown its pot. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: It needs regular watering, especially during the hottest summer days; provide also some light watering if the green house temperatures in winter are elevated. Either excessive or very scarce watering can induce rot.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.
Frost Tolerance: For safe cultivation it is best to avoid freezing temperatures (minimum 10° C). In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!!
Growing practices: The pencil- like stem grows over a meter long and racks or other long cane-like structures are needed to climb up.
Sun Exposure: Best for half-shade but grow well in full sun and shade too. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering, but is likely to suffer from sun scorch or stunted growth if over exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day in summer.
Propagation: Seeds and cuttings. The downwards growing stick-like mottled branches root easily in regular well drained Cactus mix. Cuttings will root only in hot weather. Cuttings must be kept very dry to root. Seeds germinate readily if they are sown when fresh.
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