Sunday, August 12, 2012

Petrea Volubilis.....Purple Wreath Vine

At last....Flowering for the first time in the Cortijo Azahar Garden....this stunningly beautiful Petrea volubilis.

So worth waiting for......     

 Originating in Mexico and Central America from the Family Verbenaceae,  Petrea volubilis has a few common names such as Queen's Wreath, Bluebird Vine, Sandpaper Vine and Fleur de Dieu.

Petrea volubilis is a vigorous semi-deciduous vine, with simple leaves, opposite and rough to the touch like sandpaper, giving it the common name of Sandpaper Vine.
Such a sharp contrast between the soft, delicate flowers and the harsh, crisp leaves of the Purple Wreath is most unexpected. Even the new leaves are stiff and papery.
 Flowers are in pendulous racemes in late spring. Each flower has 5 purple or lilac-coloured sepals, spreading out star-like and these surround the purple corolla. The sepals are persistent fading to grey with age and eventually form the wings which assist in seed dispersal.

The name Petrea was given to commemorate the name of Lord Petre, who, in the 18th Century, became famous for his wonderful collection of exotic plants. Volubilis means "twining." One of the common names "Fleur de Dieu" means "Flower of God".

Sandpaper Vine is a tropical plant, so it needs to be protected from cold temperatures. It will survive temperatures in the lower 30's to upper 20's for short periods of time. At those temperatures the Petrea will suffer some leaf damage, but will recover as the temperature recovers. Petrea likes full sun, but will also do well in light shade. The flower production will be very disappointing however in heavier shade.