Peperomia retusa (L.f.) A. Dietr.

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Peperomia retusa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cloudlands Forest, Vumba

Peperomia retusa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cloudlands Forest, Vumba

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Piper retusum L.f.
Common names:
Status: Native
Slightly succulent perennial herb. Leaves mostly alternate, sometimes the uppermost opposite, obovate, elliptic to ovate-lanceolate, up to 25 mm long, often varying in shape and size on the same branch, mostly hairless; midrib, 2-3 pairs of lateral veins and a submarginal vein conspicuous; margin entire but ciliate. Inflorescence in terminal or axillary spikes, solitary or in clusters of 2-3, greenish.

3 varieties are recognised for Zimbabwe in FZ and details are as follows. All three have been sunk under var. retusa in the African Plants Database.
  1. Var. bachmannii (C.DC.) Düll: plant small; leaves mostly less than 1cm long; flower spike 5-15 mm long; peduncle 4-10 mm long;
  2. Var. retusa: plant larger; leaves obovate, up to 15 mm long; spike up to 30 mm long; peduncle 5-15 mm long; creeping stems leafless.
  3. Var. mannii (Hook.f.) Düll: plant larger; leaves ovate-elliptic, up to 30mm long; spike 20-50 mm long; peduncle more than 10 mm long; stems leafy throughout.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Usually epiphytic on tree trunks or lithophytic on mossy boulders, occurring in evergreen forest and riverine forest.
Altitude range: (metres) 330 - 2500 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: From West tropical Africa to East Africa and to Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa (various varieties)
Zimbabwe distribution: E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Tuesday 2 February 2010

Diniz, M.A. (1996). Piperaceae of the Flora Zambesiaca area Kirkia 16(1) Pages 78 - 80.

Diniz, M.A. (1997). Piperaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(2) Pages 33 - 35.

Fabian, A. & Germishuizen, G. (1997). Wild Flowers of Northern South Africa. Fernwood Press, Vlaeburg. Pages 120 - 121. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 67.

Mathieu, G. (2001-2010). The Internet Peperomia Reference,

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 83.

Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust. Durban. Pages 524 - 525. (Includes a picture).

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Pages 143 - 144.


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Flora of Malawi: Peperomia retusa
Flora of Mozambique: Peperomia retusa
Flora of Zambia: Peperomia retusa

External websites:

African Plant Database: Peperomia retusa
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Peperomia retusa
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Peperomia retusa
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Peperomia retusa
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Peperomia retusa
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Peperomia retusa
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Peperomia retusa
Ispot Southern Africa : Peperomia retusa
JSTOR Plant Science: Peperomia retusa
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Peperomia retusa
Tropicos: Peperomia retusa
West African Plants database: Peperomia retusa

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Peperomia retusa., retrieved 29 May 2016

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