Love in a Puff

Cardiospermum Halicacabum, Heart Seed, Balloon Vine, Love in a Puff'.

I've got a nice gift from one of my trading buddies. A small plant still but thats what it's going to look like.

The balloon vine is a small climber, woody at base, with finely hairy stems. It grows with the help of opposite tendrils born under the flowers. The minute petals are white. The fruits are papery inflated capsules, light green ripening light brown, triangular.

The seeds are rounded, small, black to dark blue, with a heart-shaped white helm (hence the name, cardiospermum means heart-seed). Leaves are usually triangular, alternate, with three leaflets. The stem is thin, rounded, up to 15 feet long. The leaves are used against rheumatism (external use), as well as for treating eczema and hives.

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Silk Floss Tree

Chorisia speciosa:
Here is an interesting Tree. Our local garden center sells these. I have not yet had the courage to get one, but the more I look it the more I am changing my mind. We'll wait till fall comes and their 70% off sale. These trees get quite large.
Great for Bonsai if seed raised

Gorgeous ornamental tree producing profuse amounts of large pink, purple, or red flowers followed by inedible fruits. The fruits split open when mature, releasing masses of white silky material.

Fast growing tree to 30-60ft tall. The floss silk tree is fairly hardy and will survive freezes. It grows very well in both tropical and subtropical climates, and is a popular street tree, due to its beautiful blooms. The trunk is also unique, containing numerous prominent spines. Leaves drop during flowering time. Grow in well drained soil. Trees do not need a lot of water, particularly during flowering.

Propagation: Propagation is usually by seed, or grafting.

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New Research Projects

MUCUNA BENNETTI -New Guinea Creeper - Mucuna - Spectacular cleret colored vine. Cold sensitive.

This plant is currently under investigation

Pyrostegia Venusta Hua Pala - An evergreen climber which is native to South America is conspicuous during Dec-Mar. for it's clusters of pendant bright-orange 3" tubular flowers with 5" long lobes which curl back to reveal it's stamens.

This plant is currently under investigation

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Deppea Splendens

How would you want one of those? Just window shopping here, as this plant is nowhere to be found for less than $100 :) And I am not willing to spend that much on a plant that might not even survive the trip. Let me know if you ever have a good Mexico source!

One of the rarest plants in cultivation. A member of the coffee family, Deppea splendens has beautiful flowers that make it a very desirable plant to have in your garden. Hanging from impossibly thin, wiry flower stems are clusters of long tubular yellow flowers that emerge from red sepels. Blooms in late Summer & Fall. The plant itself has crisp green foliage that is somewhat textured & tropical looking. The plant gets to be around 6-8’ tall and 4-5’ wide, although it reached much taller proportions in its native habitat. Needs some shade and frost protection. These are clones from the population at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

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Frangipani Vine

As if a Plumeria alone wasn't breath taking enouch, check out the Plumeria VINE! Impossible to find for purchase, seed or plant. But my watchful tropical eye will be scanning all areas.

This large-leafed, coarse vine sports large clusters of white blooms with a subtle fragrance, best in full sun and acid soil. Large shiny leaves, prominent veins, superb white flowers similar to Frangipani, yellow and propellor shaped, delicous rich scent. Flowers a pure white with yellow center. Use it on larger structures (trellises), or allow it to ramble over tall trees. This is a stunning vine, flowering profusely from May - July; one of the powerful lianas of the Indian and Malayan forests, climbing to the tops of the tallest trees. This plant goes dormant in subtropical climate and usually loses leaves if temperature gets below 60F, but it is somewhat cold tolerant (30-40F) and can survive mild frost for a short period.

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Tulip Tree Update

We have Babies! The first set of seeds germinated within 4 weeks. Hard to believe the seeds didn't fry at these temperatures. I've circled them in case you can't make them out :) ..I am not much of a photographer

The second picture is from my Canadian supplier. There are some better images in a previous post...

I can't wait to see this one develop!

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Monkey's Hand Tree

What a scary looking thing!

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon– Sterculiaceae (Malvaceae) - ‘Devil's Hand Tree,' 'Monkey's Hand Tree,' 'Mexican Hand Tree,' 'Árbol de la manita,' 'Flor de la manita,' 'Mano de león,' 'Palo de yaco,' 'Mano de mico,' 'Majagua,' 'Macpalxochicuahuitl' -
Once known from a single sacred specimen growing in the Valley of Toluca in México, it was revered by the Aztecs and used spiritually and medicinally. Similar to an American Gingko, this plant was later found growing wild in the mountains of the México-Guatemala border, but much of the mystique surrounding this plant remains. It's names, both common and latin, refer to the excerted stamens emerging from the flower like a clawed hand. Like its close relative, Fremontodendron, it is in the Chocolate family, and a cross between the two genera is also grown. Difficult-to-germinate seeds mean that this plant is still rare in cultivation, but there are many fine specimens dotted up and down California.

Devil's Hand Tree is a slow-growing tree that will eventually reach a rounded 50'-60', and has a very beautiful contorted branches. The wonderful large red flowers put on a great show and flower for a long season. On the ground you sometime find the 'hands' that have fallen out of the mature flowers- a strange sight indeed (pictured). A tree for full sun on the cost or part shade more inland, they are very drought tolerant once established, and can also tolerate brief dips below 20º F.

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Hymenocallis White Spider Lily

Hymenocallis caroliniana is a native plant in the Amaryllis family. It's whispy, icy white flowers are really unusual, and they’re bound to bring traffic to a dead stop along the front of any light sun to full shade border. Average to moist soil is preferred.
The one on the right is named "Tropical Giant"
Hymenocallis means "beautiful membrane" which refers to the corona that connects the stalks of the stamens for a portion of their length. Commonly known as the “Spider Lily” the 8”- 12”, attractive, almost succulent foliage, holds up well all the growing season. Flowering commences in mid to late Summer. Native from the Southeast to the midwest, I predict that it is at least zone 5 hardy if not zone 4.

Somewhat easy to grow from seed, but it takes 3 - 5 years to reach flowering size. I recommend propagation from division as it takes only a year or two to flower and some plants set several new bulbs every year.

I JUST bought 5 bulbs online for 99 cents!!!!

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Mystery Ginger- Happy Mothers Day!

It's not a tropical secret that I love tropical plants :) Most in our garden are grown from seeds or traded with other gardeners worldwide, so usually we start small before we go big time.
Today my Husband bought me a HUGE Ginger Plant with about 6 huge rhizomes and a bloom. We discovered it while browsing through our most favorite Garden Center!!!
We don't know what kind it is yet, but we know it's HUGE. We think it's Kalihi Ginger

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you my babe!! It means especially much because my son was born on on a tropical island, which lead me to my liking of...tropical plants.

If you know a proper name of this ginger, please leave message on the post. Thanks!

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10 little Red Orchid Plants ...

Lets hope for the best!!!. 10 Seeds planted today!

One of the Orchid Tree species with brick red, orchid like flowers and notched leaves shaped like hooves.

B. galpinii if let alone grows like scandent shrub forming round mounds but it can be shaped in different ways to your liking. I have seen plants trimmed as small tree with a very oriental look, plants growing over fences, plants on trellises. Trimming should be done when the plants are waking up at the beginning of spring.

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The Royal Empress Tree

Paulownia tomentosa hardly needs any introduction. Also known as Princess Tree and Royal Paulownia, this showy, Chinese ornamental has naturalized throughout much of the Eastern U.S. and is grown as far north as Montreal. Paulownia can grow ten feet in a year, making it the world's fastest growing hardwood. Produces dense shade. Will tolerate almost any soil. Height usually about 40' at maturity.

If you need a fast growing, spectacular, blooming tree, this is it! My seed rack just received 10 stuffed peletts, nicely tucked away awaiting for us to see the, well...seedlings of a tree that grows 10 feet a year!!!!!

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Fruits you’ll think twice before eating

From childhood, we were taught (forcefully?) by our parents to eat whatever is served on the table, and that included fruits. They can’t be half as bad as vegetable, right?

I love veggies and fruits as well. But, let’s face it, when we were kids, we were so picky there had been unceremonious crying sessions at the dining table. These crazy-shaped fruits either naturally harvested or scientifically-bred, will get us all psyched up to eat them.

Also known as horned melon, it’s origins can be traced to Africa.

If you cut it open, the somewhat slimy, green appearance can make one hesitant to draw a spoonful of this fruit. Kind of reminds me of the green slime that thrown up by the girl from The Exorcist.

It tastes like cucumber in lemon juice and the slimy, seedy texture is utterly disgusting and almost impossible to swallow.

Peter Pepper:
I don’t have to say the obvious here, right?

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New Research projects

Erythrina crista-galli- Coral Tree
German Brugmansia / Angel's Trumpet 'Super Spot'
Passiflora Parritae
Cornus florida subspecies urbiniana
Solkfloss Tree

Will post as soon as info becomes available!.....

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