Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Peperomia obscurifolia

C. DC., Candollea 1:357. 1923

P. baileyae Trel.; P. chrysleri Yunck.

Epiphyte; stems creeping or erect, to ca 25 cm high, flexuous near apex; internodes sometimes reddish; stems, petioles, peduncles, and sometimes midribs of lower surfaces sparsely to densely pubescent with straight, usually appressed trichomes. Petioles 1-10 mm long; blades elliptic to lance-elliptic, acute or rarely acuminate at apex, acute to cuneate at base, 1-5.5 (6.5) cm long, 0.6-2.5 cm wide, bicolorous, the veins 3-5, the basal 1 cm coalesced with midrib on larger leaves. Spikes 5-16 cm long, ca 2 mm thick; peduncles 1.5-2.5 cm long; bracts round, ca 0.8 mm wide. Fruits globose, sticky, ca 0.5 mm diam, brown, exserted at maturity; style oblique, tongue-shaped, as broad as fruit body; stigma punctiform on center of style. Croat 9792, 10178.

Abundant in the forest, most frequently on lower vege­tation or on large rocks. Flowers chiefly in the late dry season and the early rainy season. The fruits develop quickly. Both flowering and fruiting spikes may be pres­ent on the same plant.

Similar to P. glabella, but differing by having pubes­cence throughout on the stems and by lacking black punctations when dry (obscure but light punctations may appear). Leaf blades are extremely variable. Some blades are so thick as to be lenticular in cross section, while others on the same plant, usually higher on the stem, are thin. Some plants of the species lack the very thick leaves.

Known only from central Panama, from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, from premontane moist forest in Colon and Coclé, and from premontane wet forest in Coclé.

See Fig. 181.