Petrea volubilis, Queen's Wreath
Botanical Gardens Puerto de La Cruz
Although known officially as Jardín de Aclimatación de la Orotava, or "JAO", this installation is actually in Puerto de La Cruz (there is a smaller one actually in La Orotava).
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", another - "Sandpaper Vine" - refers to the rough leaves.
The Purple Wreath was introduced from tropical America to other tropical areas many years ago and has always been popular as a garden shrub. Widely grown throughout Caribbean, and variously in the tropics and subtropics, it is cultivated as landscape specimen in Dominican homes, especially on the Atlantic Coast.
Petrea is used usually a climber, but sometimes also over a support where it is encouraged to twine around its own branches. Without support this twining vine grows into a rounded shrub. It also makes a terrific container patio plant, and is well suited for hanging baskets.
Petrea Volubilis is one of the most distinct and beautiful of the cultivated climbers. It looks somewhat similar to a tropical Wisteria. It is a fast-growing woody vine with a grey bark, a strong climber, and will attain great height and cover a considerable area if left unpruned. The star-like flowers are extremely effective when massed. Over a porch or along a fence it makes a glorious show in the spring when the innumerable, long, mauve flower sprays appear. There is also a lesser flowering season towards the end of the summer through fall. In favorable conditions (it likes warm and humid conditions), expect plants to continue producing flowers from winter through summer.