The approx. 100 species of Agapetes are generally epiphytic, found growing in trees across the Himalaya to China and down the Malay Peninsula. The reason they can grow in trees is thanks to an interesting woody, bulbous organ called a lignotuber. This storage organ allows it to cope with periods of drought and possibly nutrient stress. There is probably some Freudian explanation for our fascination with lignotubers, but we won’t look too closely into that!

The genus is closely related to Vaccinium (blueberries, cranberries) but differs in a few flower characteristics. Some taxonomists have moved Agapetes to Vaccinium, but there are still plenty of rounds left in this botanical prizefight before one is declared winner.


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Striped, pendulous red flowers of Agapetes Ludgvan cross


Agapetes serpens