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A stunning vine originating from India, one of the most popular species, but hard to find. The bright yellow flowers of unusual shape are hanging from the vine in clusters that can cover a large trellis or pagoda.
Thunbergias are vigorous annual or perennial vines and shrubs growing to 2-8 m tall.
Species and varieties:
Slow-growing shrub or multi-branched small tree, a bit succulent-looking due to its growth habit ans tiny leaves. It will grow eventually 7 to 10 ft tall, with erect and spreading main branches, branchlets sometimes with thick thorns, a trunk that is whitish grey, the bark is smooth, often flaking into thin peels. Spectacular, large white and yellow flowers with their sweet scent attract passersby from a distance to this small, much-branched tree. Leaves are smooth and crowded at the ends of twigs, usually in whorls of three, light glossy green, short-stalked, 1-2" size, oval to almost round. Flowers are solitary at the ends of short, rigid branches, borne November to March, white turning yellow, short-stalked, with a long, slender greenish tube, and spreading white lobes. The calyx is very unusual, with long, narrow lobes arising from its sides and not at its apex. The flowers are followed by smooth, glossy, golden yellow fruits. They are attractive, pear-shaped, woody, glossy golden yellow, hard and flattened, usually produced in large quantities between February and August. The long, slender flower tube and the white, sweetly scented flowers suggest that insects like moths and butterflies pollinate this plant. Decorative fruiting branches placed in a vase may remain fresh for up to month, since branches are able to absorb water readily. In traditional medicine, fruit and roots are boiled and used as an emetic. This very neat and decorative small tree is best suited for a spot in the garden where it will stand alone so that it gets all the attention it deserves, more especially when in flower. The genus name Gardenia was named after Alexander Garden, a medical doctor and naturalist from South Carolina. The species name cornuta means horned; perhaps referring to the remnants of the persistent calyx lobes of the fruit. This species was first collected in 1870 but it was only after 35 years that it was eventually described in 1906. The genus Gardenia has about 60 species in tropical and warm parts of the Old World, seven in southern Africa. Gardenia cornuta is not widely found in gardens. Another related species, Gardenia thunbergia, looks much alike due to similar growth habit and small leaves (which are pointed unlike rounded leaves of g. cornuta) and is another attractive species, worthy of cultivation. Because of its growth habit and slow growth rate gardenia cornuta is a good bonsai plant. Very closely related specie - Hyperacanthus amoenus (Gardenia amoena).
Ewergreen tree, pale grey bark, veined velvety leaves, strongly scented white flowers, decoction from fruit used for tattooing.
Like Gardenia thunbergia, this species has fragrant white blossoms and woody seed pods that remain on the branches. Gardenia thunbergia possibly often confused with Gardenia resiniflua, it may be distinguished from Gummy gardenia, by its much larger fruits.
This shrub or small tree is native from Angola to KwaZulu-Natal. This species has fragrant white blossoms turning yellow with time. Gardenia volkensii ssp. spathulifolia has long narrow leaves, with wavy margins - very curious plant.
Woody seed pods remain on the branches.
Gardenia thunbergia is often confused with Gardenia volkensii, it may be distinguished from the Transvaal Gardenia, by the fact that its fruits are not ribbed. The fruits and roots are used in the treatment of a variety of ailments, including asthma, infertility, earache, sore eyes, epilepsy and headache. Ashes from burnt roots are placed on the chest as a treatment for pneumonia. Some local people also believe that this shrub will protect them from lightning.
Uncarina grandidieri is a most attractive plant. Deciduous shrub or small tree to 25ft, trunk up to 1ft in diameter. Abundant water when growing, keep on the dry side when dormant.
The flower resembles a large Petunia in form and is bright yellow with a dark throat, as in the Thunbergia alata. The stems are stout and become thickened with age. The hairy leaves resemble those of the cotton plant. They are sticky to the touch and yield a musty odor when rubbed. The leaves are deciduous during the winter resting season. Fruit has small inwardly pointed barbs mounted on 3/4in pedicels. Don't touch this fruit unless you want to spend some time trying to remove it from your fingers.
Close related species - Pedalium murex.