Please help ID wild Ecuador rainforest Gesnerid

ecophotog(9)February 11, 2006

I think this plant is a Gesnerid, but I admit that I'm not totally sure of that. At first I thought it was an Episcia but the flowers are globose and that doesn't seem to fit.

This plant was growing in the lowland wet forest, not far from the Rio Napo, in eastern Ecuador. Under very heavy and intact primary forest canopy... quite dark on the ground where this was growing.

I'd really appreciate any help in finding the ID.

Here are some images of it:

http://www.ecology.org/unknown_tropicals/1200_02_03_14_16%20copy.jpg

http://www.ecology.org/unknown_tropicals/1200_02_03_14_17%20copy.jpg

http://www.ecology.org/unknown_tropicals/1200_02_03_14_17a%20copy.jpg

TIA for any suggestions. Joe

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komi(z7/8 DC)

It looks like Pearcea hypocyrtiflora.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 10:46AM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

I meant to give you this link as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Genera of Gesneriaceae

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 10:54AM
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ecophotog(9)

Thanks for the help. I think you're right about the ID.

Here's a link with more pictures:
http://www.gesneriads.ca/pearcea.htm

This diminutive rhizomatous plant has very attractive and colorful foliage, as well as unusual brilliantly red flowers. The lobes of the flowers do not open except under optimum conditions. The flowers are probably hummingbird pollinated. They grow in colonies in tropical rain forests.

Thanks, Joe

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 1:23PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

It certainly looks like P. hypocyrtiflora. There are other pearceas, formerly parakohleria, which come from Ecuador. But, the other species do not resemble hypocyrtiflora that closely. Its a gem of a plant, which is in cultivation. It is not hard to grow as long as it is enclosed and given sufficient root run. I have had plants that filled a large covered aquarium with offsets, from runners. But, mine flowered with fairly tall peduncles, while others have had flowers on shorter stems like yours. There is some clonal variation, and two or three have been in cultivation though some of these are probably lost. Currently the Ecuadorian orchid nursery, Ecuagenera is selling this species at orchid shows in the US. I expect to see their booth next week at the orchid show in San Francisco.

Thanks for showing us a photo from the wild. Ecuador is very rich in gesneriads, with new species being discovered all the time.

Jon

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 4:06PM
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