Raphiocarpus petelotii

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  • Photographer: Photo courtesy strangewonderfulthings.com

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The Smithsonian’s Gesneriad Checklist shows 12 species for Raphiocarpus.

R. petelotii is fairly widespread in cultivation. According to the Checklist, it is native to northern Vietnam and southern China.

Plants have stems with a tuft of leaves at the top but are usually bare below. The leaves are hairy and mottled with dark almost-purplish green.

Flowers are about 5-7 cm [2 inches] long, creamy yellow-white, with reddish-purple stripes on the base of the corolla interior. An unusual feature is two raised ridges between the stripes.

The plants are not damaged by temperatures around 0 C [32 F]. It has been grown outdoors, planted in the ground, in the vicinity of Washington D.C. (John Boggan report), and was found to go dormant under the snow but come back in the spring — at which time it would have to be protected from slugs and snails.

Culture is easy, as long as the plant’s requirement for an abundance of water is met.

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