Strongylodon macrobotrys - Blue Jade Vine
by Sharon Mau
The flowers of the Blue Jade are extremely vivid. Dropping from the vine itself a stalk off flowers may reach over 5 feet in length and may have 50 to 100 flowers. Each flower is 2 to 4 inches, curved and very durable. The flowers are all a stunning blue-green and are often used in Leis.
The Blue Jade was brought onto the Hawaiian Islands as a decorative plant. Because it is a vine, it can take over if not constantly pruned. However there is no indication of Blue Jade becoming invasive.
A similar looking distant cousin is the Red Jade Vine which has vivid bright red flowers.
Flowers have a beautiful seagreen/turquoise colour that is almost beyond description. This colour is extremely rare in the plant world.
The bloom is a pendant, clustered birds beak like inflorescence up to 4 1/2 ft. long and puts on a spectacular show when in bloom with amazing long clusters of brilliant flowers.
Often used in Lei making . . the blue hue is perhaps the most rare in the world of flowers.
Strongylodon macrobotrys, commonly known as jade vine, emerald vine or turquoise jade vine, is a species of leguminous perennial woody vine, a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines, with stems that can reach up to 18 m in length.
Its local name is Tayabak - A member of the Fabaceae (the pea and bean family), it is closely related to beans such as kidney bean and runner bean.
The pale green foliage consists of three leaflets.
The claw-shaped flowers are carried in pendent trusses or pseudoracemes of 75 or more flowers and can reach as much as 3 m long.
The turquoise flower colour is similar to some forms of the minerals turquoise and jade, varying from blue-green to mint green.
The short, oblong, fleshy seedpods are up to 15 cm long and contain up to 12 seeds.
The plant grows beside streams in damp forests, or in ravines.
The inflorescences are only produced by mature vines.
Each individual bloom resembles a stout-bodied butterfly with folded wings; they have evolved certain modifications to allow them to be pollinated by a species of bat that hangs upside down on the inflorescence to drink its nectar.
The flowers are also visited by a species of wasp, and are home to a species of butterfly.
There are several other species of Strongylodon, but the superficially similar red jade vine, Mucuna bennetti, is a species belonging to a different genus, Mucuna.
It seems to be endemic to the Philippines and is usually found in forests. Propagation has always been difficult. It is considered an endangered species due to the destruction of its habitat and the decrease of its natural pollinators.
There seems to be a method of marcotting through mature woody stems. It is best planted in ground near a water source, but not inundated. The vine entwines itself through the trunk and branches of trees and the leaves spread over the canopy.
The flowers hang like clusters of grapes.
It is prized in tropical and subtropical gardens for its showy flowers which are a highly unusual colour, unlike that of almost any other plant. It is usually grown over a pergola or other tall support to display the spectacular cascading flower trusses which are produced generously once the vine is mature (after 2 years or more, depending on pruning regime). Curiously, on a large plant, the pale-coloured blooms can be difficult to see in strong sunlight and could be overlooked if not for the fallen blooms below the vine. Fallen blooms change color as they dry out, from mint green to blue-green to purple
Information Source: Wikipedia
Species: S. macrobotrys
Strongylodon macrobotrys - Blue Jade Vine
From my collection: Tropical Flowers of Hawaii
Photo Copyright © Sharon Mau
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