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Columnea eburnea

Photo by Larry Skog, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution
Growing in nature in Ecuador

Also known as Dalbergaria eburnea.  A closeup of  the flowers can be seen by clicking here.

Note the distinctive red leaf tips.  In some species, such as C. consanguinea and C. florida, there is also a transparent "pane" of red.  Both characteristics apparently help to attract pollinators. 

Note also the dramatic asymmetry of size in the leaf pairs.  While each large leaf has another opposite leaf at the same point on the stem, in this species this second member of the pair is very much reduced in size.  This results in an appearance much like truly alternate-leaved species.  This phenomenon is known as "anisophylly".  There are no true alternate-leaves species within the Gesneriaceae.

 

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