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

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Peperomia retusa

Picture: Bart Wursten
Cloudlands Forest, Vumba

Peperomia retusa

Picture: 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.
Type location:
South Africa
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Usually epiphytic on tree trunks or lithophytic on mossy boulders, occurring in evergreen forest and riverine forest.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: From West tropical Africa to East Africa and to Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa (various varieties)
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): E
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Mc
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 224. as Peperomia retusa bachmannii and Peperomia retusa mannii

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 Published on the internet:

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.

Other sources of information about Peperomia retusa:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Peperomia retusa
Flora of Mozambique: Peperomia retusa
Flora of Zimbabwe: Peperomia retusa

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Peperomia retusa
African Plant Database: Peperomia retusa
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Peperomia retusa
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Peperomia retusa
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Peperomia retusa
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Peperomia retusa
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Peperomia retusa
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Peperomia retusa
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Peperomia retusa
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Peperomia retusa
Ispot Southern Africa: Peperomia retusa
JSTOR Plant Science: Peperomia retusa
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Peperomia retusa
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Peperomia retusa
The Plant List (version 1.1): Peperomia retusa
Tropicos: Peperomia retusa

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-19

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2019). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Peperomia retusa., retrieved 25 May 2019

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