Peperomia Dolabriformis Origin and Habitat: Peperomia dolabriformis is one of the best-known succulent peperomias and has a wide distribution in the warm valleys of northern Peru.
Altitude: 600 – 1200 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: This species grows as an epiphyte or as a terrestrial on rotten logs and leaf litter on the forest floor. As a forest-floor dweller this very succulent Peperomia grows best in bright diffuse light but not full sun.
Description: Peperomia dolabriformis is a curious shrubby perennial, with stems becoming woody with age. The leaves are succulent, purse-shaped, light-green; the 2 halves of each leaf are fused and folded upward along the dark green margins with darker-green windows along their curved upper surface. It may be either rosette-forming, or erect laxly branched to 10-60 cm tall. Peperomia dolabriformis is sometimes called the “prayer peperomia” because of its plain green leaves that appear to have been folded shut, as hands in supplication.
Derivation of specific name: ‘dolabriformis’, from Latin ‘dolabra’, axe, hatchet, and Latin -formis’, -shaped; for the leaf-shape = shaped like an axe, referring to the leaves.
Branches: Upright or trailing, up to 2.5 cm in diameter, glabrous, at first green, later brownish with horizontal leaf-scars.
Leaves: Sessile or with a short petiole to 6-10 mm long and 1 mm in diameter, alternate, somewhat crowded near the branch tips very fleshy, (2-)5-7(-15) cm long, 5-7(-12) mm broad, 10-14 mm thick, shaped like “pea pods”, narrowly obovate in lateral view, cross-section elliptic to almost circular, folded together longitudinally so that only the under-side of the leaf is visible, the upper margins having a translucent appearance, creating a narrowly oblong ‘window’ along their curved upper surface which allows light to penetrate, glabrous, smooth, lime green to dark-green above, whitish to pink beneath. Apically mucronate, base rounded and tapered, veins obscure.
Inflorescences: The inflorescence is a green, slender terminal panicle to 40 cm long, with scattered small spikes. Peduncle to 1.2 cm long, partly branched. Spikes to 6 cm long, 1.5-2 mm in diameter, densely flowered. Bracteoles peltate, round.
Flowers: Inconspicuous, greenish-white erect, ‘catkin-like’. Ovary immersed into the rachis.
Chromosome number: 2n = 24