Pilea peperomioides (/
|Pilea peperomioides and offspring|
In 1945, the species was found by Norwegian missionary Agnar Espegren in Yunnan Province when he was fleeing from Hunan Province. Espegren took cuttings with him back to Norway, by way of India, in 1946 and from there it was spread throughout Scandinavia.
Pilea peperomioides is an example of a plant which has been spread amongst amateur gardeners via cuttings, without being well-known to western botanists. They did not know its true classification until the 1980s. The first known published image appeared in the Kew magazine in 1984.
Having a superficial resemblance to pennyworts and growing 30 cm (12 in) tall and wide, it is an erect, succulent, evergreen perennial, with round, dark green, peltate leaves up to 10 cm (4 in) in diameter on a long petiole. The stem axis is greenish to dark brown, usually simple, often upright straight, slightly lignified at the base. In poor growing conditions, the plants lose their leaves in the lower part of the branch axis and thereby assume a very distinctive habit. The plants are completely hairless. Striking are their large, circular (taler-shaped), shiny, change-constant leaves, which can have a diameter of over 15 centimeters. The petioles are wild growing 2 to 17 inches long, in indoor plants up to 30 centimeters. The flowers are inconspicuous.
This species occurs only in China: in the southwest of Sichuan province and in the west of Yunnan province. Here it grows on shady, damp rocks in forests at altitudes from 1500 to 3000m. It is very rare and possibly endangered in its native habitat. However, it is kept in China and worldwide as an ornamental plant.
With a minimum temperature of 10 °C (50 °F), in temperate regions P. peperomioides is cultivated as a houseplant. Despite its attractive shape, easy care and rapid growth, the plant is rarely found on the market. It forms fast-growing foothills, which are often passed on as a lucky plant ("lucky thaler") or friendship plant. Since constant temperatures and high humidity have a positive effect on plant growth, this plant species is suitable for planting terrariums.
- Interview of Dr Phillip Cribb by Jane Perrone on Episode 17: Seeking Pilea peperomioides - why everyone wants the Chinese money plant (01:40) of On the Ledge podcast. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
- "A Chinese puzzle solved - Pilea peperomioides". Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- A. Radcliffe-Smith: Pilea peperomioides . Kew Magazine, vol. 1, 1984, pp. 14-19.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Pilea peperomioides". Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 78. Retrieved 30 April 2018.