Jade Vine Flower:
Who would have thought that some member from the peas and beans family could be as magnificent and gorgeous as jade vine? The climbing vine makes for a striking appearance due to its hanging stems of blue green flowers.
Botanical name for jade vine is Strongylodon macrobotrys and the IUCN Red List deems it vulnerable. Usually to be found in wild, damp forests and ravine, the flower’s native habitat was threatened due to the destruction of the rainforest in Philippines. The local name of jade vine is ‘tayabak’.
The beautiful color of flower is due to malvin and saponarin pigments. When placed in slightly alkaline conditions, the saponarin produces strong yellow pigment that lends the blue-green tone to the flower as a result.
The pollination of jade vine is done by bats in its natural habitat. Bats are attracted towards the abundance of nectar in the flowers. Since it is pollinated by bats, which are nocturnal and hence, in order to attract them, the plant displays luminous quality at night.
In Philippines’ tropical rainforest, the plant tends to sweep away all other tropical rainforest vegetation in order to get sunlight. In its acclimatized habitat at the Princess of Wales Conservatory and in the Pacific, Asia and Australasia section of the Palm House’s North Wing, the seed pollination is done by hands.
Kew’s jade vine specimen in the Palm House was pollinated by hand and when it produced its fruits, these were the size of the melons. But that didn’t happen until 32 years of vegetation. Usually, the length of the stem of plant can go up to 18 meters in length and its each vine can grow about 90 to 100 flowers. Jade vine needs space to grow and before it blooms, the diameter of the trunk expands up to 3/4th of its original size. The flowers are produced after every 2 years of more, in natural conditions. The showy flowers, which make it a prized possession to have, change color to purple-green or purple when they dry and fell off the stem.
In the controlled climates of glasshouses or conservatory, the flowers bloom in early spring.
The first vine was discovered by western botanists in the year 1854 on the expedition of U.S. Wilkes Exploring. It was an encounter by chance as they were trying to explore Philippines’ dipterocarp forest of Mount Makiling.
Places you can find them in all their glory:
Since it is frost-intolerant species, its abode in South Africa is warm and humid coastal Natal. The plant needs as much as sunlight it can get. It is grown at the bright glasshouses of Kew Gardens and Cambridge University Botanic Garden. It also marks its presence at the Eden Project in the United Kingdom. In the United States, you can explore this turquoise beauty at Longwood Gardens, Naples Botanical Garden, Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens and Franklin Park Conservatory. If you are around Florida, pay a visit to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.