Peperomia rotundifolia

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Several plants in the peperomia genus are grown as common houseplants here in North America, but have you ever seen one like this?

I was first introduced to this particular plant in Dominica, where it goes by the local names Jiwonflè*, Jonflè, or Giron Fleur**. It is most often found in very damp and dark places, and as a result most of my photos were lousy. Last month I found it again (as seen here), on display in the Tropical Rainforest Conservatory at the Montreal Botanical Gardens and was able to get a better photo.

Jiwonflè is a tiny trailing succulent that grows as an epiphyte, hanging from the branches of trees, most commonly cocao and grapefruit. In Dominica, the plant is brewed into an herbal cold remedy but what’s most fascinating is the smell. When you crush the leaves, it emits a soft green peppercorn aroma. I suppose this shouldn’t be too surprising since peperomia is in the same family as black peppercorns (Piperaceae).

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

This wider shot gives a better view of its growing habit.

* “Plants of Dominica’s Southeast
** Source: “Caribbean Wild Plants and Their Uses” by Penelope N. Honychurch.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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