Friday, February 17, 2012

Solandra maxima......Golden chalice vine

Flowering now in the garden..........


Cup of gold vine is another common name for this lovely chalice flower flowering in a sheltered corner of the garden.

A member of the Solanaceae family from South America, it is evergreen, vigorous and fast growing and although it prefers a moist humous rich soil, it can recover from a short period of drought even after defoliation and often needs a hard prune to keep it in check.

The thick  woody ropelike stems grow very quickly and branch out and root at their nodes, this is a very invasive plant that will cling to anything in its path and has been know to climb and vine for over 200 feet in it's native habitat.    The evergreen leaves on these rare tropical flowers are beautiful and leathery and can grow between 4 to 6 inches long.
The flowers are truly spectacular and very large anywhere from 6 to 11 inches long, and as big as 7 inches from side to side.
When the flowers first bloom their colour is a soft calming yellow then as they get older the colour  deepens  to a deep rich gold .
Not only do they look beautiful but the smell wonderful with a slight hint of coconut. As the sun goes down the fragrance starts to appear.
Cup of gold blooms intermittently through the year, but is at it's best here now in February.