The Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) is a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines. Its flowers are a luminous turquoise in color, and hang in bunches up to a metre in length. Each clawlike flower is about 8 cm long (right).
In its native Philippines it is thought that the jade vine’s flowers are pollinated by both birds and bats.
In cultivation the flowers rarely set fruits, and experiments in other Botanic Gardens have revealed that the stigma has to be physically damaged by a large pollinator to effect germination of the pollen grains. In addition it seems that an incompatibility mechanism makes seed set very poor, unless more than one individual is grown.
Althought the Jade Vine is not endangered in the wild, it is certain that its natural range has been decimated by the loss of tropical forests in the Philippines.
This year our Jade Vine produced only a single inflorescence (left), but the vine is just 4 years old, and we hope that in future years the display will be become more spectacular, and make a June visit to the Palm House a most rewarding experience.