TROPICAL PLANT CATALOG

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Strophanthus preussii, Medusa-Flower, Poison Arrow Vine, Spider Tresses, Poison Dart Vine

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Strophanthus preussii
Family: Apocynaceae
Medusa-Flower, Poison Arrow Vine, Spider Tresses, Poison Dart Vine
Origin: Tropical West Africa
Large shrub 5-10 ftVine or creeperSemi-shadeRegular waterWhite/off-white flowersRed/crimson/vinous flowersFragrantDeciduousAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsSubtropical, cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

A curious flower! Wild and unusual floral display arrives from late spring to fall on this shrubby vine. Clusters of cream-colored flowers bedecked with long, curly streamers and a rust-tinted throat. Occurring off-and-on throughout the year, flowering is heaviest in spring and summer. The faintly fragrant flowers are short trumpets with five curled petals that are very light pink (aging to creamy light yellow) with a reddish brown base. The tips of the petals become narrowed and elongated, forming a twisting, sticky string that dangles down from the flower and touches lower leaves. During winter might drop leaves.

Climbing shrub, to 12 feet or more; leaves elliptic to obovate or ovate, to 5 inches long, bluntly short-acuminate, truncate to cuneate, glabrous; flowers fragrant, sepals foliaceous, corolla white but darkening to dull lemon-yellow, strongly marked with yellow and purple in throat, tube about 5/8 inches long, basal cylindrical part purplish, as long as campanulate part, lobes very long-caudate, to 12 inches long, tails maroon, appendages in sunuses very short, obtuse, golden with purplish tips; follicles lanceolate, to 10 inches long. Cultivation: Frost-tender plants prefer a partly shaded position and fertile, humus-rich but well drained soil. Propagate from softwood cuttings or seeds.


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