Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stripey lipsticks from Borneo

I obtained this unique lipstick vine from Borneo a few years ago - a cutting from a friend. The short flower with stripped corolla coupled with the shallow dish shaped fused sepals is quite eye catching. It is reported to be common on palm plantations in Sarawak but I have only seen it once growing at a depleted forest. I did witness an impressive display of mass flowering at a private garden, where a dense carpet of this vine cover a trellis over a 3 metre square area sprouting multitudes of red dots along their lengths. There are 2 forms shown here, one with pink and the other with red sepal. Despite its uniqueness, I could only pin it down to be Aeschynanthus tricolor recently The reason is that there is another similar species from Borneo - Aeschynanthus hians. I found Anthony Lamb's article in GardenWise showing rather blurred photographs of both species but all it said was that the difference was in the calyx. I only understood what he meant when I eventually found this curious stripped flowered Aeschynanthus with larger flaring calyx. This would be the A. hians, which is a rarer species confined to northern Sarawak. From these pictures one can see the difference lie in the larger, widely serrated calyx - the flower is similarly stripped.


Carol Ann said...

Wow! Long time between blog posts, but I'm glad to see you're back. And with a gesneriad, no less!

I can't help you much on distinguishing these two species, but you had asked back in March, I think, how to preserve gesneriad seeds. Store them dry and cold or even frozen. They won't last long at room temperature, but some will be viable for years at 4 degrees C down to -80C. Surprising for a largely tropical family, huh?

Hort Log said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks for coming back. I have difficulty germinating local gesneraids somehow....foreign ones seem much more robust.

Anyway, taking a break from the writing routine .... c u !

Nat said...

excellent specimen. Happy to see a new post! You have an excellent blog here.

Carol Ann said...

Some gesneriad seeds have a thin coating that, when wet, becomes gelatinous and leads to rotting. How nature deals with that, I'm not sure, but gesneriad growers deal with it by rubbing the tiny seeds back and forth across plain printer paper which has just enough tooth to remove the coating. Whether this is the issue with your local seeds, I have no idea. You'd have to examine the wet seeds under a microscope to see whether there's a coating, or you could just try the rolling back and forth method (the seeds, not you.)

VanityofVanities said...

Wow! This flower looks indeed like lipsticks. So read and absolutely stunning.

Thanks for sharing,
Cathy@embroidery digitizing

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