We have Jackfruit

Jackfruit on the tree

Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit) on the tree.

I know some of you have been waiting since last season ended. The wait is finally over. The jackfruit is back, and we have a beautiful fruit this year.

If you aren’t familiar with jackfruit, this is a tropical treasure. It has a unique flavor somewhere between banana and pineapple mixed with other tropical notes of flavor. The spiny fruits are spectacular in size and can get upwards of 70 pounds.

For a really unique experience, come by our nursery in Miami today and buy some jackfruit for a taste of this Asian treasure.

Saritaea magnifica (Glow Vine)

The name Saritaea magnifica implies something special, and, indeed, ‘magnificent’ is an appropriate word to describe the flowers of the Glow Vine. This native of Colombia and Ecuador produces large clusters of showy mauve-purple, trumpet-shaped blooms up to 2½ in. wide, accentuated by white throats. Even when not in flower, S. magnifica is ornamental, bearing smooth, leathery, dark-green leaves. It can be featured in the landscape in two ways: (1) Utilized as a climber that attaches itself to vertical elements via slender tendrils, or (2) Maintained as a shrub either planted out or in a container. Glow Vine should be grown in full sun to light shade and in moist, well-drained soil. It is available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery in 3-gal. pots, trained on 3-ft. trellises.


Stictocardia beraviensis (Hawaiian Sunset Vine)

We at Richard Lyons’ Nursery never cease to be amazed over the arcane logic behind the common names of plants. Just recently we learned that Swiss Chard is native to . . . the Mediterranean. And today we were driven into an even deeper funk by news that the beautiful Hawaiian Sunset Vine hails from tropical Africa! Obviously, figuring out this profound mystery is beyond our pay grade, so we’ll just concentrate on describing what is indisputably a very nice plant that you might want to add to your garden.

Under any name, Stictocardia beraviensis is an eye-catching vine. Its leaves alone are impressive; heart-shaped and velvety to the touch, they are about 6 in. wide grown in full sun and double that size grown in shade. Add to that the spectacular flowers, bright crimson cups with orange and yellow highlights framed by darker crimson stripes.

And that’s not all. The blooms are scented and appear on and off throughout the year. Moreover, Hawaiian Sunset Vine attracts birds and butterflies. It will still flower when grown in shade, but is more prolific in full-sun settings. It is not demanding, but grows best when given ample water and good drainage. It can even tolerate light freezes. This excellent species is available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery in 3-gal. containers.

New Guinea Trumpet Vine (Tecomanthe dendrophila)

When it comes to the New Guinea Trumpet Vine, the world temporarily returns to its senses. This very attractive liana really is native to New Guinea! Known botanically as Tecomanthe dendrophila (and formerly called T. venusta), it is related to the genera Tecoma and Tecomaria from other parts of the world, but produces larger and showier flowers. In fact, its tubular bloom is 3-4 in. long, pink along the sides and creamy yellow at the throat, maturing to a darker magenta-pink. The flowers grow in large, pendant clusters, made more striking by virtue of emerging directly from the dark older wood, rather than from younger stems.

New Guinea Trumpet Vine has proven hardy in southern Florida. Richard Lyons’ Nursery carries this relatively uncommon species in 3-gal. containers.


The Colorful Jade Vines

This week we’ll take a look at a few jade vines. The term is a little bit confusing, because not all the plants known by that name even belong to the same genus. But what they do have in common is that they are lianas, that is, woody-stemmed vines that climb and twine around their supports. And they are good to look at.

Green Jade Vine, the common name of Strongylodon macrobotrys, hardly does justice to the striking turquoise coloration of the claw-shaped, bat-pollinated flowers. The plant is native to moist forests in the Philippines, where mature specimens can reach nearly 60 ft. long. Despite being found on the 7,100+ islands that make up that republic, the Green Jade Vine is nevertheless considered endangered as a consequence of habitat destruction. The best way to grow this beautiful vine is on a pergola or other structure featuring vertical elements, since the flowers form on cascading trusses that reach several feet in length.

The Black Jade Vine, Mucuna nigricans, is native to eastern Asia and, like the Green Jade Vine, belongs to the bean family. However, its flowers, generally described as dark violet or maroon in color, are not claw-shaped like those of the Green Jade Vine. Instead, they grow in grapelike clusters or bunches about 6 in. wide that hang beneath the plant’s foliage. For best results, grow this species in full sun and provide regular watering.

The Yellow Jade Vine, Mucuna sloanei, is a New World species, native to forests of Central and South America, though it is now distributed widely throughout the tropics. In addition to its clustered, elongated yellow flowers, it produces seeds which bear a strong resemblance to small brown hamburgers. In some communities, the seeds are polished for fabrication into trinkets.

Green, Black and Yellow Jade Vines can be found at Richard Lyons’ Nursery primarily in 3-gal. pots, but also in a small number of 15-gal. containers. From time to time, the nursery also stocks the Red Jade Vine, Mucuna bennettii.


Queen’s Wreath (Petrea volubilis)

Words such as ‘spectacular’ and ‘stunning’ have been used to described Petrea volubilis, and that’s not hype. This woody plant, also known as Queen’s Wreath and Sandpaper Vine, produces impressive masses of blue-purple flowers displayed above paler star-shaped calices several times a year and bears a similarity to the wildly-popular temperate vine, Wisteria. The springtime flowering is usually the most dense and showy, but the specimen in the ground at Richard Lyons’ Nursery began putting on a striking burst of color in August.

Petrea is not only native across a huge range from southern Mexico into South America and the Caribbean Basin, but it has also been introduced to many areas of the tropics and subtropics. The common name Sandpaper Vine is a reference to the rough surface of the plant’s dark green leaves. It can be pruned to grow on a trellis, fence, or other support, but if left untrained, it can climb great distances into large trees. In addition, it can be left unsupported in the ground to grow as a rounded shrub or simply be maintained as a containerized plant.

Queen’s Wreath is easy to care for. It is at its best in full sun to filtered light. Once established in the ground, it is quite resistant to wind and drought, and is moderately tolerant of salt air.