Gesneriad seeking name......

calla_lady(Z8b N. Calif)September 15, 2004

I found this plant at a plant sale with a tag stating "Gloxinia hybrid". I think somebody just decided to give it any old gessie name or was truly mistaken. I have never been one to turn down a plant without a name, but hoping somebody (Jon??? lol) will recognize it. It really looks like a fuzzy, Nematanthus to me displayed in an usual manner (staked). Some of the leaves are about 2 -3" long and the flowers at least an inch long.

Thank you for taking a look, Alicia

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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Oh yes, that old thing....(Ive been wanting to say that for a long time.). Would you like the long story or the short answer? Ok.

Well, it was back in the late 80's An organization in Florida called the Gesneriad Research Foundation, now defunct, put out a list for mail order, as a fund raiser. The SF club put together a group order and I ordered all the nematanthus, which included several new species and a bunch of new nematanthus hybrids, all made the foundation's founder and employee, botanist, Hans Wiehler. Nearly all of the hybrids and species found their way to our various gesneriad specialty growers as well as AGGS members, who do a lot of propagating. But this one got lost. I knew the name, and had a vague memory that it was one that I had ordered but hadn't seen the label in years; so I thought I had long ago lost it. Then, about 2 years ago I gathered up my nematanthus to make a list and I found that I had three pots of N. hirtellus, but one was different (and nicer). Then I dug around underneath the oak leaves and found the label. So....., this one is Nematanthus 'Petropolis', named for a beautiful city famous for its gardens in the mountains of Brazil. Hans also used Brazilian city names for other hybrids introduced that year--'Ubatuba', 'Sao Paulo', and 'Sorocaba'. Your plant must have come from the ones I propagated when I realized what it was. A plant may have gone to Strybing or it might just be that they also had the plant all these years ago at the same time as our club, but had lost the name. I think they also ordered from that GRF list (it was the only time that GRF put out a list--too bad!).

Anyway, it differs from the species hirtellus in having a bigger yellow corolla. Both have that black-maroon calyx. 'Petropolis' seems to be a faster grower and a better bloomer too. I seem to have flowers on it all summer though I really need to take better care of it. It does get leggy if left to its own devices. I recommend starting cuttings and potting up multiple cuttings in a pot, then pinching as it grows out. It looks like you use fertilizer well, so you will no doubt produce a big heavily flowering specimen. Like other nematanthus it loves being outside for most of the year, and I grow most of mine outdoors. When I found this plant, it had been outside for many years, but for some reason I moved it into the greenhouse. So, that's the short answer ;)


    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 12:53AM
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calla_lady(Z8b N. Calif)

Jon - I just knew that you would be the man with the answer! LOL. Yes this did come from Strybing and when I was trying to figure out why it had been named Gloxinia hybrid I swear I heard it whisper "....jon_d.....hehe, so I would not doubt for a moment that it is one of your babies.

Actually what you cannot see from any of these pictures is that it is loaded with buds! I foresee a long flower show ahead of me. I was thinking I would cut it back after it finished flowering. Have you ever seen a Nematanthus displayed this way? (staked). Kind of interesting, especially since they had it in with the vines, hanging out with some Manettia, Asarina, Kennedia etc (the wild crowd!)... instead of with the houseplants.

Thank you! I love the story :o)


    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 10:52AM
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That is totally AWESOME! I thought Nematanthus was the goldfish family. I guess it all goes to show that each plant family has totally different looking members.

Thanks for the picture!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 11:30AM
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