Columnea picta

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  • Previous Name: Dalbergaria picta
  • Photographer: Ron Myhr
  • Grown by: Amazon Spheres

Images copyright by the individual photographers or their institutions.

This large-growing attractive species is characterized by bright red/pink spots at the tips of the leaves and large yellow bracts enclosing the yellow flower clusters. Both bracts and flowers typically have brown markings.

The specimen above was growing at The Amazon Spheres conservatory in Seattle Washington. These are immense domes containing thousands of tropical plants, many of them growing on a living wall that is several stories high. Columnea picta was not on the wall, but in a shaded terrestrial location near a water feature.

This particular clone of the species has larger and much more dramatic bracts than is typical. The brown markings take up more of the bract than usual, and beautifully frame the attractive flowers.

The red/pink spots on the tips of the leaves are thought to increase visibility to hummingbirds, which are attracted to the red color of their typical nectar flowers. In the case of the several Columnea species that exhibit red leaf markings, it is thought that the hummingbirds are drawn to the red patterns, and then discover the (often dull) flowers that they then obtain nectar from and effect pollination.

An additional photo can be seen by clicking the link below: