Common Names: Jade Vine, Emerald vine Turquoise jade vine.
Etymology: Strongylodon: from the Greek words ‘strongyl’ meaning round and ‘odens’ meaning tooth. macrobotrys: from the Greek words ‘macros’ meaning large/long and ‘botrys’ meaning cluster.
Description: Evergreen, leguminous (closely related to kidney and runner beans) vine with thick woody stems reaching lengths of over 18m. Although this species is widely used as an ornamental in tropical gardens it is considered threatened in its natural environment due to heavy deforestation in the Philippines (80% to be precise).
Foliage: Dark green leaves 25cm long, trifoliate (consisting of 3 oblong leaflets 8-13cm long).
Trunk/stem: Woody stem with smooth grey bark.
Flowers: Blue/green pea shaped flowers 7.5-12.5cm long on large pendulous racemes generally around 1.5m in length but can be up to 3m. Flowering takes place from Spring to early Summer by mature vine. The aquamarine colour of the flowers is unusual and only present in two other known flowers on earth and is an example of copigmentation.
Fruit: Short round to oblong fleshy seedpods up to 15cm long containing 12 seeds.
Growth Requirements: Grows best in neutral to acid soils, hanging from trees or pergolas. Like our friend the ‘Lipstick palm’ the Jade Vine will not tolerate temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius, it does prefer humidity but does not seem to be perturbed by it being dry provided it is well watered. In nature the Jade Vine will climb through the trunk and branches of a tree, the leaves spread over the canopy and the flowers hang down through the canopy.
Uses: Ornamental vine to grow on pergolas, arbors or up a tree.
Propagation: The Jade Vine flowers easily but getting a viable seed is difficult. In nature the plants are pollinated by bats (that are drawn to the strange colour of the flower) to drink its nectar. To have a viable seed you need to mimic the bats behaviour of pollination. It can be grown easily from node cutting.
Sources of Information:
- Cairns Botanical Gardens.