Thursday, August 30, 2012

jatropha integerrima......Peregrina

Jatropha integerrima,  commonly named Peregrina or Spicy Jatropha is a member of the Euphorbiaceae  family and  native to the West Indies especially Cuba.

It is an evergreen shrub or small tree on which the spectacular bright red flowers appear in clusters on the ends of the branches anytime new growth is taking place. Individual flowers are about one inch across.

Butterflies and hummingbirds find the blooms very attractive.

The leaves can vary from elliptic to deeply lobed. Leaves and stems contain a milky sap that can irritate sensitive skin. 
 Fruits are reported to be poisonous as indeed do all parts of the plant if ingested but the fruits appear to be seldom produced here on the south coast of Spain.

This subtropical evergreen shrub or small tree has glossy leaves and clusters of star shaped bright scarlet or vermilion flowers. The plant has a rounded or narrow domed form.  The flowers are about 1 inch across and borne in multi-flowered terminal clusters slightly above the foliage almost all year round when growing in full sun to partial shade.  This super patio plant tolerates heat and drought while still looking good.
Best flowering is in full sun, but plants will still remain attractive in partial shade.


The growth habit is strongly upright, and the tips of the stems may need to be cut back if you want to force side branches. 
In tropical climates plants may grow 8 to 10 feet tall, but as patio plants or summer annuals they are usually 3 to 5 feet tall.
 Fruits are reported to be poisonous as indeed do all parts of the plant if ingested but the fruits appear to be seldom produced here on the south coast of Spain.

Since spicy jatropha blooms on the current year's growth, it can be pruned at any time of year without harming its flower display.

Unfortunately, the colour of my photos isn't true.  The flowers are more red, scarlet, not the pink that they appear to be here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hibiscus coccineus......Scarlet Rose Mallow

Some common names for Hibiscus coccineus are Scarlet Rose Mallow, Texas Star, Scarlet Hibiscus. 

 The Scarlet Hibiscus is a slender shrubby herbaceous perennial that in its natural habitat, dies back in winter and re-sprouts in spring.  Established plants can have one to several stems up to 7 ft tall. flowers are brilliant crimson red and 6-8 in across.  Each lasts only a day but new ones continue to open all summer and Autumn.  The leaves are divided palmately, like the fingers on a hand,  into 3/7 narrow, pointed, serrated lobes.

 The scarlet hibiscus, from the family Malvaceae, occurs naturally in swamps, marshes and ditches, from southern Georgia and Alabama to central Florida
It is one of the largest and most beautiful of North American native flowers. it often causes people to do a double take as whilst growing as it somewhat resembles a marijuana plant.  
The resemblance quickly ends when the plant bursts forth with its startling flowers in summer!

Likes sun or part shade,  moist-wet soil and  tolerates heat/humidity.

Deep red flowers with a lush tropical appeal. Red-purple stems and deeply cut maple-like foliage that waxes redder through the late summer and fall. The wetter the site, the taller it grows.

There is also a pure white form known as 'Swamp Angel'.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ipomoea alba.......Moon Flower

Ipomoea alba, sometimes called the moonflower or moon vine, belonging to the family Convolvulaceae, is a species of night-blooming morning glory, native to tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, from northern Argentina north to Mexico and Florida.

 It also grows extremely well in a corner of the sub-tropical garden here at Cortijo Azahar.  It will eventually, exotically, grow over and cover the pergola over the new garden daybed/anytime bed.

Ipomoea alba is a perennial, herbaceous liana growing to a height of 5-30 m tall with twining stems.  
The white flowers are fragrant and large, 8-14 cm diameter. They open quickly in the evening and last through the night, remaining open until touched by the morning sun. On overcast days, the blossoms may remain open for longer. The flowers also tend to remain open longer on cooler days as we head into autumn. The name moonflower derives from their blooming in the evening and their being round in shape like a full moon.

Moon flower is invasive and the seeds are poisonous if ingested is a thing of beauty.  Watching the flowers burst open just before sunset is quite magical  and the delicate perfume of each flower, multiplied by so many as the daylight fades, fills the senses and is pure eroticism.  


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Polianthes tuberosa........Tuber Roses, Rajanigandha

 Originally from Mexico, Polianthes tuberosa is the world's most fragrant bulb  according to 'Thompson & Morgan', renowned seed & bulb specialists,  that is.

'Think of double strength gardenia with hints of jasmine and lemon' says Alan Titchmarsh.

Spikes of intensely fragrant, waxy white flowers are produced throughout summer, which make enthralling cut flowers.
 The semi-double, fragrant tuberose flowers of this relatively unknown bulb are carried above narrow, lance shapes leaves.

Polianthes tuberosa requires a minimum temperature of 15°C (59°F) so it is ideal for a heated greenhouse or conservatory. It can also be grown outdoors in containers or sheltered sunny borders, if it is lifted and stored frost-free over winter.

 Its scent is described as a complex, exotic, sweet, floral and the oil extracted from the flower is used as a middle note in perfumery.

 There are about 12 species of Tuber rose belonging to the family Agavaceae. 
 The common name derives from the Latin tuberosa, meaning swollen or tuberous in reference to its root system.
Polianthes  means "many flowers" in the Greek language.

It was a very popular flowering bulb in Victorian times, 'grown in posh china pots in conservatories or living rooms that didn’t benefit from much heating' says Alan Titchmarsh.