Jade Vine on St. Patrick’s Day

Jade Vine

Strongylodon macrobotrys

Fabaceae

 

Everywhere (horticultural) I’ve been this week I’ve run into, almost literally in my face,  a head-turning green-flowered vine, well named jade vine.    Today is St. Patrick’s Day and it must be said the flowers look like little green Leprechaun shoes (click).

jade vine.

How many vines do you know with green flowers?    And these are showy day-glow blue-green in massive dangling grapelike clusters up to 4 feet long, or more. They dangle free from strong woody stems on strong woody pergolas.    Or from the rainforest canopy.

These lianas for folks with big trellises can be propagated from their shiny black seeds, or from layers, or from cuttings.    Then be patient…the rest is going to take time and the luck o’ the Irish.  Flowering is on mature specimens, which can be 75 feet long.   I’ve read they grow best with the base in the shade, in neutral or slightly acid soil, and the top in the sun,  like a proper jungle vine just might do.  The natural habitat is moist.   The vine is a little moody, not tolerating much pruning or damage.

Strongylodon

What sort of pollinator would visit those unique dangling blossoms? The main floral visitors are fruit bats in the Philippines that hang upside down sipping green nectar.  The blossoms hang free of the foliage to allow the bats unfettered flutter-access.  As the bat enjoys a pint, pollen is dusted on and off its head.    Due to the absence of proper bats in Florida, seeds here require hand-pollination.  The bats and associated habitat is becoming scarce in the Philippines, making Jade Vine an endangered species in the wild.

strongylodon

 

Did you like this? Share it:
George Rogers

About George Rogers

George Rogers is the Chair of the Horticulture Program at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens.