This magnificent specimen, with a single leaf measuring almost two feet in length, was grown on bark like some orchids or a Staghorn Fern might be. It was transported from New England to Toronto for the 1994 Convention of the AGGS, on the lap of the exhibitor. It won “Best in Show” for the growers, Bob and Dee Stewart.
The unifoliate Streptocarpus are interesting plants, that produce only one leaf during their life cycle. Most are monocarpic, in that they flower only once before dying. It may take several years before flowering occurs. In their natural habitat, the leaves will never be as pristine-looking as this one. During annual periods of drought or cold, part of the leaf will die back from the tip, leaving a ragged edge with dried remnants of the abandoned tissue.
As in most species, there is some variation in the appearance of the flowers, depending on the clone being grown — as can be seen by comparing these flowers with those from a plant grown at the Royal Botanic Garden. View a close-up of the RGBE plant’s flowers here.