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Featured plant: Combretum indicum (syn. Quisqualis indica)

rangoon creeper Combretum indicum (syn. Quisqualis indica)
Commonly known as Rangoon creeper or Chinese honeysuckle, this vine grows up to 25 feet long. It is native to Asia but found in many other parts of the world as an ornamental, or has escaped cultivation to become naturalized.

It’s flowers are fragrant, with a sweet, fruity aroma that some find suggestive of Jolly Rancher candies.

The the tubular flowers open white at dusk attracting hawk moths with long tongues that can reach the nectar. They turn pink on the second day and red on the third, attracting birds, bees and other pollinators active during daytime. The flowers also go from horizontal to pendant during this transition.

Translated from Latin, its original genus name Quisqualis means Who? What? This probably stems from confused early botanists who observed it as both a shrub, which it resembles early in its youth, and later in its life as a rambling vine.

Look for it sprawling over the vestibule at the south end of the Palm House.

 

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