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Corytoplectus cutucuensis

Corytoplectus cutucuensis is a fantastic gem from rain forests of Ecuador.  This unusual African Violet relative combines awesome foliage with showy flower clusters and crazy metallic fruit!  Even without blooms this is a choice show plant, with its boldly variegated leaves that have a soft, velvety texture.  The plant is endangered in its homeland of Ecuador, and is uncommon in cultivation.  Fresh seeds are almost never seen for sale.

Corytoplectus cutucuensis

This evergreen Gesneriad grows to about a foot tall and 2 feet wide.  The dark green leaves grow about 4 inches long and are lined with soft hairs.  You can't see it in the pictures, but the leaves have beautiful purple undersides.  The flower clusters appear at the tops of the shoots throughout the year.  The flowers are yellow and appear only briefly, but the scarlet bracts surrounding them are very long-lasting.  After flowering, the bracts spread open to display the shiny, bluish-black berry that looks like a steel ball!  The fruit is reportedly edible, but i haven't tasted them.

Corytoplectus cutucuensis

It grows well for me in warm indoor conditions with a drop in temperature at night, similar to intermediate-temperature orchids.  I haven't tried it in cooler conditions, so use caution below 55 degrees F (13C).  It does best in relatively humid air over about 50% humidity is best.  It likes bright, filtered light, but not too bright.  Shade it from direct sun.  It grows well in a typical, well-draining soil mix that's slightly acidic and kept evenly moist.  In the right conditions, it is easy to grow.

Corytoplectus cutucuensis

 

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Turquoise Puya

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