Pearcea rhodotricha

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  • Previous Name: Parakohleria rhodotricha
  • Photographer: Alexei Yakovlev
  • Grown by: Top Tropicals
  • Licensing Details: Copyright Alexei Yakovlev and Top Tropicals Learn More

Images copyright by the individual photographers or their institutions.

P. rhodotricha has dramatic flowers — they’re mostly black, with bright reddish orange calyces and abundant hairs. Pollinating hummingbirds are attracted by the bright calyces and hairs, and instantly identify the “target” opening with the colorful interiors.

The plant was collected during expeditions a number of years ago, and has been in continuous cultivation. It is difficult in cultivation — in nature it appears mainly to grow in full sign with very high humidity, and can get very tall. A cultivated specimen grown by Nancy Kast is in a tall purpose-build container, illustrating the height and cultural requirements.

The whole of the specimen shown above can be seen here.  Plants shown as foliage-only specimens can be seen here (a plant exhibited at the 2014 convention of the Gesneriad Society) and here, and a close-up of the reddish hairs (from which the cultivar gets its species name) here.

It appears that this species produces a “splash cup” as a seed distribution mechanism — the seed pods open facing upwards, and when it rains the drops hit the pod or the calyces, resulting in ejection and distribution of the seeds.