Cercestis mirabilis

Commonly called the African embossed plant because of its unusual foliage pattern and texture, Cercestis mirabilis (N.E.Br.) Bogner can climb up to a height of 10m. Leaves are  glabrous; petiole is terete, grooved at the base in the adult stage, shortly sheathing, hastate or cordate-hastate, cuspidate-acuminate or shortly and rather abruptly acute, more or less sinuate along the margins. In young plants or young shoots entire, dark green, variegated with whitish between the primary veins in a pattern resembling the tips of a fern frond. In adult plants with large slit-like perforations between the primary veins on each side of the midrib, green, without variegation; front lobe ovate or oblong-ovate; basal lobes broadly rhombic-ovate, or somewhat hatchet-shaped, very obtuse, with a broad, open, very obtuse sinus between them.


The genus name Cercestis is derived from the  Greek name, kepkis, a weaver's shuttle.

Cercestis mirabilis

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  • Name: Cercestis mirabilis (N.E.Br.) Bogner

    Common name: The African Embossed Plant
    Type: herbaceous evergreen
    Form:  Climbing phanerophyte
    Family: Araceae
    Native Range: W. Trop. Africa to Uganda and Angola
    Zone: 11-13
    Habitat: rainforest at ca.800m
    Height: up to 10m
    Spread: 60-100 cm
    Sun: Part shade
    Water: Medium
    Maintenance: High
    Leaf: Evergreen
    Tolerate: Semi Shade

    Taxon identifiers: PlantList-ID : kew-37213; IPNI plant ID : 943021-1; Tropicos ID : 2106689; NCBI taxonomy ID : 174194; Global Biodiversity Information Facility ID : 2872038; African Plant Database ID : 33533; Encyclopedia of Life ID : 1090927; WCSPF ID : 37213; Plants of the World online ID : urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:943021-1; IRMNG ID : 10254358; iNaturalist taxon ID : 428133; World Flora Online ID : wfo-0000834943

    Synonyms: =Nephthytis picturata N.E.Br. = Nephthytis picturata var. angustata N.E.Br. = Rhektophyllum congense De Wild. & T.Durand ≡ Rhektophyllum mirabile N.E.Br.