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Stictocardia beraviensis (Vatke) Hallier f. 1893
pronounced: stik-toh-KAR-dee-uh ber-av-ee-EN-siss
(Convolvulaceae — the morning glory family)
common name: Hawaiian Sunset Vine
Stictocardia is derived from the Greek στικτος (stiktos), spotted, dappled, and καρδια (kardia), the heart; beraviensis has defeated me. From the word ending, it should mean ‘from Beravia’, but I cannot find a place of that name.
This is a fast-growing perennial woody vine, growing up to 14 m long, which will climb or cascade. Given the right conditions, it will cover a fence, arbor, trellis or unwanted view within a few weeks. It is native to West Africa and Madagascar, and is cultivated as a garden plant throughout the tropical world.
The large leaves, soft and velvety, are ovate-cordate in shape, 16 – 20 cm in length, and either pointed or blunt. The stalk is as long as, or slightly shorter than the blade.
The scented flowers are large, 5 cm across, a bright crimson-red, striped orange within, giving a comparison with an Hawaiian sunset. The flowers are in clusters; the sepals are 7 – 13 mm, almost circular to elliptic. Abundant nectar is produced, and the plant will flower for most of the year. It attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
The fruit is about 2 cm long, surrounded by enlarged sepals.
The plant flowers best in full sun with ample water, but can be grown in shade, where the leaves will become mammoth! In colder climates, it may be grown as a container plant. It needs lots of water, and rich but well-drained soil, or excellent drainage if in a pot. It prefers a neutral or slightly alkaline soil. It is an attractive plant, ornamental even when not in bloom.
Propagation is by stem cuttings or from seed. The plant is relatively cold-hardy, and will take a few hours of light frost, and will come back from the roots if killed by longer periods of cold.
Photographed in a garden in Arcadia 2018
Page last updated 31st August 2018