Adapted from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter of June 15, 2007
issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve,
QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO

DELICATE PLANT
WITH A SHADY PAST

A delicate-looking vine with very pretty pink flowers is beginning to blossom here now. You can see it below:

Pink Trumpet Vine, PODRANEA RICASOLIANA

Anyone familiar with eastern North America's Trumpet Vine will recognize it as a close relative, both from its pinnate leaves and flower shape and size. A common English name for this plant is Pink Trumpet Vine but it goes by many others. It's PODRANEA RICASOLIANA, of the Bignonia Family. One of the main botanical features distinguishing it from other Bignonia Family members is its papery "inflated calyx," which blouses out at the base of the blossom. Also, its fruits form particularly long and slender capsules.

My horticulture book describes it as coming from South Africa, but an interesting page in Africa, at http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/podranricasol.htm points out that South African botanists have noticed that populations there typically occur in areas associated with early slave traffic. They think the plant somehow may have been introduced there by slavers or slaves. Now the plant is scattered so generally throughout the Earth's warmer regions that its real home may never be determined.

I wish I knew how this plant made its way from Africa to here where it so prettily and innocently clambers over stone fences next to people's homes.