by Chuck Nishihira
So I had a plant for years that came from Peru, but had no clue as to what it was. The upright stem never got taller than about 5″. The thin delicate leaves were highly serrated and presented themselves well. The color was a very medium green and there was no pattern on the leaves, but I adored that plant. I was never able to successfully propagate it. Sadly, after several years in my care it finally died. The only photograph I ever took of it is the first one here, highlighting the interesting serrations.
On our recent drive up to Mindo, Ecuador Emily and I stopped at a little reserve right on the road side. I have to admit, I did not have high hopes for this little tourist spot. But after driving around lost in the northern part of Quito for several hours, a good leg stretching was needed! I think this garden was filled with plants from surrounding areas, but some of the plants were well established all over the trails. It was assumed that these occurred there naturally. Of particular interest to me was my old friend or maybe a close relative. The ones here had deeper serrations and were even more attractive, as can be seen in the second photograph. The largest plants that I remembered seeing were about 8″ or so tall with maybe 3″ long leaves. There were hundreds of them and none seem to be on their way to getting larger. It would be great to try this plant again, especially this newer locality. There have been photos of very similar plants from Ecuador shared in the Asian hobby. Hopefully some will find their way stateside soon.
UPDATE-I believe it’s a Burmiestera.