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Ah, the fragrance of this sunlit Rangoon Creeper blossom! | by jungle mama
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Ah, the fragrance of this sunlit Rangoon Creeper blossom!

I was pulled to this plant by my nose... literally! The fragrance pulled my dog Honey and me over to take a look and pick a couple of flower clusters to take home. Such a wonderful smell. That was years ago and I still remember the moment perfectly!

 

Rangoon creeper is a tropical vine popular for its color-changing blooms and tough habit. The name of the genus, Quisqualis, is Latin for “what is this?” because early plant explorers would collect the various forms of the plant-shrubby, vine, with or without spines, varying foliage and flower colors. It must have been a frustrated taxonomist who eventually applied the quizzical name.

 

The flower color is white when it first opens and darkens to pink and finally dark red as it matures. Each flower spike may exhibit all stages of the flower color at one time. The fruit is rarely produced, but is red maturing to brown, dry and five-angled or winged.

 

Rangoon creeper is a large, woody, scrambling or climbing vine or liana. The leaves are arranged on stems opposite each other and are lance- to elliptically shaped ending in a point. The stems have yellow pubescence (fine hairs), mostly on the small branchlets. Sometimes spines form on the branches. This plant will climb with support or gracefully arch to form large mounds. The leaves are variously green to yellow green.

 

Rangoon creepers fragrant flowers appear on spring though summer and sometimes fall. They are grouped on loose, open spikes. Individually, the blooms have very long tubes, 4 to 5 inches and open to five-pointed, starry lobes.

 

Vine Pergola, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, FL

www.susanfordcollins.com

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Taken on April 6, 2012