Embodying the allure of exotic flora perfectly is the Jade Flower. Not an encounter you would typically make in an everyday garden, this captivating jewel richly emphasizes its unique place in the world of botanical rarities.
However, this rare gem wraps within its petals a somber truth – it’s a plant that’s at risk of extinction. Want to learn more about this intriguing plant? Let’s delve into its verdant secrets together.
Origin of the Jade Flower
Native to the balmy rainforests and heat-absorbing landscapes of the Philippines, we find the captivating Jade Flower, or as known by its scientific name, Strongylodon macrobotrys. In the vibrancy of these tropical woodlands and ravines, this unique gem thrives, basking in the damp environments of its homeland.
Locally, you would hear it referred to as “Tayabak“, but the phenomenal beauty of this flower didn’t remain confined to its native land. Its jade-colored charm has successfully transcended boundaries, earning it delightful names worldwide like “Emerald Vine“, “Jade Vine“, or “Turquoise Jade Vine“.
Features & Characteristics
The Jade Flower possesses an unrivaled beauty. Its turquoise-hued petals bloom vividly in a drooping, vine-like arrangement. As you admire the symphony of its emerald tendrils, you observe that each individual bloom measures approximately 7.5 centimeters across.
Flower and Leaves
The unmistakable, intense jade green color gives this flower its well-deserved name. The Jade Flower showcases clusters of about 75 blooms grouped on thick stalks that hang similar to bunches of grapes. The leaves, not to be overshadowed, artfully arrange themselves in a trifoliate formation.
With a specific preference for large bats for pollination, the Jade Flower embodies an interesting element of symbiosis. The night-blooming flowers with a sweet nectar within serve as a bat’s treasure, enabling this interesting cycle of life.
Threat & Conservation
Unfortunately, the exquisite Jade Flower faces the threat of deforestation and chemical pollutants. Conservationists are dedicated to preserving this unique flower, frequently educating communities about this endangered plant’s importance and its role in maintaining biotic diversity.
Why are they threatened? How have humans contributed to this?
The rainforests of the Philippines are disappearing at an alarming rate, what once used to be covered in forest only has 20% remaining.
The jade flower specie is bordering endangerment due to farm and factory chemicals being dispersed, effecting unsustained growth and copious deforestation, exterminating it’s evolution totally.
These hazards have ravaged the Green Jade’s encompassed flower and following, the entire species is drastically decreasing. Previously, Green Jade Flowers didn’t produce seeds, indicating they were scarcely found until 1995, of late they are facing the same dilemma and we must prevent history from repeating itself over again.
What can we say about the Jade Flower
The pale green foliage of the Jade Flower consists of three leaflets. Its claw-shaped flowers hang in pendant trusses or pseudoracemes of 75 or more, reaching lengths as much as 3 meters. This makes the flower appear quite exotic.
The turquoise hue of the flower is reminiscent of certain forms of the minerals turquoise and jade, ranging from blue-green to mint green. The short, oblong, fleshy seedpods, up to 15 cm long, can contain up to 12 seeds.
The Jade Flower is typically found growing alongside streams in damp forests or in ravines. Its inflorescence (a set of flowers grouped on the same stem) is produced only by mature vines.
Every individual bloom mimics a stout-bodied butterfly with folded wings. These blooms have evolved certain modifications to allow them to be pollinated by a species of bat that hangs upside down on the inflorescence to drink its nectar.
This plant isn’t only visited by bats. Other visitors may include the Ave Aethopyga bird. Additionally, the Jade Flower acts as a domicile for the Papilio palinurus butterfly.”
How to cultivate the Jade Flower?
Let’s contribute towards preserving the spellbinding Jade Flower, Strongylodon macrobotrys, commonly referred to as Turquoise Jade, on our wonderful planet. By understanding the appropriate cultivation steps, we can enjoy the vibrancy of this mesmerizing flower in our own abodes.
Understanding the Ideal Environment
The Jade Flower naturally thrives in humid areas. Being native to tropical climates, it’s essential to remember that Jade Flower is not frost-tolerant. A minimum temperature of 15º C ensures its optimal growth. You can find this exotic and showy flower blooming in warm, tropical gardens globally.
Horticulturists advise planting the Jade Flower on a pergola or high-rise support to allow the flower clusters to mesmerizingly cascade down, enhancing its waterfall-like appearance. This spectacular display typically occurs after two years or more of growth, depending on its pruning treatment.
- Temperature: 15º to 26ºC.
- Location: Direct exposure to sunlight, with the base of the plant shaded. Best if planted on land, near a water source like a fountain or pond.
- Irrigation: Maintain a moderate watering schedule, ensuring a humid environment.
- Pruning: Recommended after blooming for plant improvement and growth control.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements:
- Soil/ Substrate: Acidic, fertile, and sandy. Compost is highly recommended.
- Fertilizer: Apply a 5-10-5 water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks (except during summer).
- Resistance: Primarily resistant to pests, with the main concerns associated with low temperatures.
Gardeners recommend planting this flower on a pergola or high-rise support. After two years or more of growth, its spectacular flower clusters can drape down like a waterfall, adding a remarkable shine to the landscape. The appearance largely depends on the pruning treatment.
Curiosities of the Jade Flower
Eye-Catching Blooms in Subtle Shading
Intriguingly, one might easily overlook the pale-colored blooms of one of the largest Jade Flower plants in strong sunlight. The evidence of its captivating beauty is often noticed through the fallen blooms beneath the vine, a unique trait of this woody, trunk-climbing, twisted shrub.
Transient Colors in Blooms
As the Jade Flowers wilt and dry out, an interesting phenomenon occurs. The fresh mint green color gradually transitions to a blue-green, eventually settling on a regal purple.
Jade Flower in Cold Climates
Cold climates present a challenge for this tropical wonder. In such regions, the Jade Flower requires the warmth and protection of a large glasshouse for cultivation; evidence of this method can be seen in renowned spaces like Kew Gardens, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and the Eden Project in the UK. These plants typically bloom in early spring under cultivation.
A Closer Look at Jade Flower Variants
The Jade Flower family, Strongylodon, hosts several species. However, the striking red jade vine, Mucuna bennetti, even while appearing similar, belongs to a different genus, Mucuna. This enigmatic variant is usually found in Philippines forests and is considered at risk of extinction, adding to the conservation importance of the Jade Flower species.