David M. aka petrichor@Flickr (also see: Kipili.com) submitted a few photographs of Ceropegia species to the BPotD Flickr Group Pool) to contribute to the series on African plants (original). Thank you, David!
The genus Ceropegia consists mostly of succulent vines or trailing plants found in tropical and subtropical areas of the Africa, Asia and Australia. Ceropegia ampliata, commonly known as bushman’s pipe, is native to southern Africa and Madagascar, where it is found on dry, stony slopes.
Like its close relative Stapelia, Ceropegia is fly-pollinated. The tubular flower is lined internally with fine downward-pointing hairs that trap flies within the tube until the hairs (and flowers) wither. During the fly’s period of captivity (which may last four days!), sticky pollinia are attached to the body of the fly, and transferred to the next flower the fly visits. Finding it difficult to imagine what the inside of the flower might look like? Sage Reynolds has a web site about Ceropegia, and the page specifically about Ceropegia ampliata has photographs of cross-sections of the flowers (as well as habit photographs and cultivation information).
Sage has also written an overview of the genus in cultivation for Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Ceropegia: Fabulous Vines of the Succulent World. If you’d like to view more photographs of plants in this genus, visit the Flickr group dedicated to Ceropegia.
Returning to the topic of the species in today’s photograph, Stoffel Bester of the South African National Herbarium in Pretoria has written an account of Ceropegia ampliata for Plantzafrica.com. This article includes a detailed description of the plant and the derivation of its name.