Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Put On Your Royal Robes

This delightful purple and gold flower is known as King's Mantle.  (My camera does not capture the true purple coloration of the bloom.)  It's scientific name is thunbergia erecta, and it's in the same family as Black-eyed Susan vine, clock vine, and scrambling skyflower. 

The "erecta" in the name comes from the fact that this plant is a bush and not a vine, which is a contrast with all of its cousin thunbergias.  The leaves are deep green and beautiful, as you can see in the photos.  It will get almost tree sized in more tropical climates, such as southern Florida.  It has no pests that I know of.

The plant is not reliably hardy even in my zone 8B area.  However, mine surprisingly survived this last winter which was colder than normal.  I recommend you plant this in a protected place in your yard.  It prefers full sun and tropical conditions, so give it plenty of water.  It really thrives in hot weather.  It would make a unique and different potted plant for Northerners, since it's not often seen.  And for all you LSU Tiger fans out there, there is no flower that more perfectly matches our team's colors than this one!

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