Pilea peperomioides, also known as the Chinese money plant or Missionary plant, is a rather unusual and sought after house plant. It is very hard to find this plant on sale in garden centres etc, but you can buy one direct through this web site.
Pilea peperomioides has large, circular deep green leaves which are unusual in that they attach to the centre of the leaf, not to an edge ('peltate'). In a mature plant the leaves can be up to 4 inches (10cm) wide. It is a succulent, evergreen perennial.
This plant has an interesting history. It was first collected in the early 20th century in the Cangshan mountains of Yunnan Province in China, by George Forrest. However, that is not the route by which it has become a sought-after houseplant. In the 1940's P. peperomioides found its way to Norway courtesy of a Norwegian missionary, Agnar Espegren, who returned with a specimen from China. He gave cuttings to his friends and the plant became popular in Norway and later spread to Sweden and other countries including the UK. In Scandinavia this plant is still known as the 'missionary plant' because of how it arrived there.
The correct identity of this plant was not firmly established until the 1980s. Subsequently the first published image appeared in a 1984 edition of Kew magazine.
In the UK P. peperomioides has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
NOTE: The correct name for this plant is Pilea peperomioides, and not Pilea peperomoides or Pilea peperomides.
Lytebox image popup software (www.lytebox.com) © Markus Hay, used with permission under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Attribution 3.0 license.