The amazing Snail Vine

Super cool Collector Vine Cochliasanthus Vigna caracalla! Definitely a to "drool" over Plant. Very hard to find and accordingly priced.

There are two similar looking plants called Vigna caracalla.  Both produce pretty, spiral-form flowers in soft pastel shades. And the foliage of both is heart shaped, looking much like that of pole beans which makes sense because these are legumes and are therefore related to beans. In fact, both plants will produce slender, bean-like pods under good growing conditions.
The Snail Vine, Phaseolus caracalla, is fairly widely available. This is an aggressive, sometimes invasive plant that tends to root where the branches touch the ground and can be difficult to eradicate. The flowers of the Snail Vine lack the fragrance that represents a key reason gardeners choose to grow these plants. Snail vines are often erroneously sold and labeled as Vigna caracalla.
The true Corkscrew Vine (or Shell Vine), Cochliasanthus Vigna caracalla, is difficult to find but worth the effort. This vigorous and well-mannered garden plant produces very cool spiral flowers with an incredible scent that's reminiscent of Chinese wisteria and noticeable from 15 feet away. The intricate, curly flowers are produced for several months during the summer. Originally from South America and grown by Thomas Jefferson at Montecello, these are memorable plants. If you've seen one in a private or public garden, locked on the amazing scent and fanciful flowers, and always wanted one of your own, now you can make that happen.

  True Snail/Corkscrew Vine Cochliasanthus Vignacaracalla - Seeds Found here


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Tacca chantrieri - Bat Flower

I don't have this one (yet) but I am working on it. The Bat Flower is an exotic tropical perennial from South-East Asia and Africa. Its highly prized deep purple-brown flowers look black at first glance. From these striking flowers droop long, delicate, whiskery tendrils. Its seed, freely available from established plants, should be sown in springtime in a pot of moist African Violet potting mix. Note: the seeds MUST be very fresh as seed propagation for this plant is very difficult. The plant can also be propagated by division of its rhizome in spring.

The plants will reach flowering size in about three years if you keep them warm and sheltered and give them a monthly liquid feed.
Always remember to keep them on the dry side in winter, at a temperature which does not drop below 13*C. Re-pot when growth commences in spring. The Bat Flower is an excellent indoor pot plant in temperate areas but in tropical or subtropical areas it can be grown outside in borders or as an understorey plant. Like many ferns, its lush, green, heavily veined foliage benefits from good, but not full sunshine.

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Stapelia gigantea

No one who sees the starfish flower, Stapelia gigantea, ever forgets it. Its 13- to 18-inch blossom is among the largest in the world--yellow, five-pointed, with petals marked with crimson lines. Its buds look like inflated balloons, opening slowly one petal at a time. Also unforgettable is its odor, giving rise to the common name "carrion flower,' which applies to several stapelias.

Few bees and hardly any butterflies are present as pollinators in the native region of these plants, but there are plenty of flies. Presumably it was nature's scheme to attract flies for pollination of flowers by the odor. The insect mistakes the flower for a piece of rotting animal carcass on which, habitually, it lays its eggs so that larvae hatching from them have something to feed on. In justice to the flowers, the carrion odor is not noticeable more than a few feet away, and it is of short duration.

Give stapelias sandy soil and good drainage. A suitable mix is four parts good potting soil to one part builder's sand. Keep new plants watered well while they are actively growing (spring to late summer), then allow to dry down one inch deep. In fall/winter keep them on the dry side, watering only when stems soften, signaling a need for water.

Although they grow in full sun in the wild, in captivity they seem to do best in a more subdued light. An eastern exposure with morning sun is good during their growth period; and when they are dormant a south window suits them. They summer well outdoors if kept out of hottest midday sun.

To propagate stapelia, merely twist off stems at joints and set them into a rooting medium. A good rooting mix is equal parts moist peat and perlite, with a half part of sand added to improve anchorage. Stand the cutting upright in the mix but don't cover it so deeply as to block air circulation. Keep the medium on the dry side and at 70 degrees or more. Anytime during the growing season is a good time to propagate.

When roots are a half-inch long, put cutting into a 3-inch pot containing the sand and soil mix. Keep it in the shade and fairly dry until established-- about two weeks. Expect blooms in about two years.

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Cannonball Tree

Another incredible rain forest tree. It wont grow in our climate, still, worth noting.

Couroupita guianensis, Cannonball Tree, Brazil Nut, Bertholletia excelsa, Boskalebas

Cannonball Tree is a large deciduous tropical tree 75' tall and indigenous to the Amazon rain forest. The leaves, up to 6" long, are simple with serrate margin.
It flowers in racemes which cauliflorus. The amazingly complex, yellow, reddish and pinks flower of the Cannonball Tree are heavenly scented - a cross between a fine expensive perfume and a wonderful flower scent. These are 3" to 5" waxy, pink and dark-red flowers growing directly on the bark of the trunk. The tree bears, directly on the trunk and main branches, large round woody fruits. They look like big rusty cannonballs hanging in clusters, like balls on a string. The fruit contains small seeds in a white, unpleasant smelling white jelly, which are exposed when the upper half of the fruit goes off like a cover. The long dangling fruity branches give the tree an unkempt appearance.

Fruits are edible and are occasionally eaten, but the smell of the white flesh discourages most people from trying them. The flowers of Cannonball Tree have a wonderful smell and can be used to scent perfumes and cosmetics. The hard shells of the fruit are sometimes used as containers.

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The Fly Ring

Somewhat nature related, I have decided to post that freaky thing right here. The Fly Ring.

Glitzy, kitsch greatness!

A plastic toy fly is adhered to a silver tone adjustable ring base

found here

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