(Bird-of-Paradise, Crane Flower)
This is perhaps the ultimate flowering showpiece for frost-free landscapes or a sunny interior room. Bird-of-paradise is a clump-forming, evergreen, subtropical perennial native to South Africa. Its large, bold dark gray-green leaves contrast nicely with its unusual crested flowers. The flower comprises a protruding, pointed, green spathe that gives rise to orange and indigo crests, which resemble exotic bird wings. They arise from tall smooth stems -- crane-like necks -- just above the foliage and...
(Caetê-bravo, Stromanthe )
Grown for its colorful leaves, Stromanthe sanquinea is a member of the prayer plant family and is native to the rain forests of Brazil. It is an evergreen herbaceous perennial and slowly forms spreading clumps.
Its dark olive green leaves are backed with burgundy and arise from rhizomes (underground stems). They are oblong to lance-shaped and move throughout the day to track or avoid the sun. At night, they fold together like praying hands. The flowers are produced in tight, pendulous...
James H. Schutte
(Caetê-bravo, Stromanthe )
Grown for its colorful leaves, Stromanthe sanguinea ‘Triostar’, also known as 'Tricolor', is a member of the prayer plant family. It is a cultivated selection of a species native to the rain forests of Brazil. It is a tropical evergreen perennial that slowly spreads to form clumps.
Its dark green leaves are variegated with white and cream, backed with hot pink and arise from thick rhizomes (underground stems). They are oblong to lance-shaped and track the sun, or avoid it, during the...
(Medusa-Flower, Poison Arrow Vine, Spider Tresses)
Likely not to turn you to stone, the small, star-like flowers of the Medusa-flower will stop you in your tracks as you marvel at their hair-like, pendent, sticky strands. A semi-evergreen tender vine from central and western Africa, it drops its leaves only when there is a pronounced dry period. Its foliage is glossy green and held in pair along the vining or clambering stems. Each leaf is simple (no lobes), oval with a tooth-tip and often have edges that fold slightly upward to reveal the lighter...
Queen palm is a large solitary palm native to south-central South America with a slender, exceptionally straight gray trunk. The glossy, bright green fronds can drape to the ground. Ivory-colored flowers give rise to orange dates which may attract bats and insects. It clings onto its dead fronds and with lots of fruits, it is a fairly messy plant.
Queen palm requires full sun and well-drained to wet soils and is intolerant of alkaline soils where nutrient deficiencies are expected. It has the...
(Buff Hazelwood, Cochinchine Sweetleaf)
A traditional Ayurvedic medicinal plant, this small, upright, evergreen tree is also valuable as an ornamental. It naturally occurs from southern Asia to the western Pacific Islands.
The narrowly elliptic leaves of Symplocos cochinchinensis are alternately borne on smooth, gray-barked branches. Each leaf blade has a tapering point. Frothy, branching clusters of tiny white flowers are produced along the branches in mid- to late-summer. The flowers are followed by small, rounded, berry-like...
(Blue Berry, Horse Sugar, Martinique Sweetleaf, Whitewood)
This small, round-crowned, evergreen tree is native to the Caribbean Basin from Jamaica to Central America and northeastern South America.
The lustrous, waxy, elliptic leaves of Symplocos martinicensis are alternately borne on smooth, gray-barked branches. Few-flowered clusters of small, fragrant, white blooms appear in the leaf axils sporadically from late spring to early fall. The flowers are followed by small, elongated, berry-like drupes that mature from green to blue-black.
Forest & Kim Starr
(American Evergreen, Arrowhead Vine)
Its lush evergreen foliage and tough constitution make arrowhead vine a popular choice for the house or conservatory. Native to tropical America, this cold-tender plant forms a compact shrub when young, but later develops climbing stems with aerial roots.
Young plants have medium to dark green oval leaves with heart-shaped bases. Older plants produce arrowhead-shaped or compound leaves, often with gray-green markings. Mature landscape plants may bear creamy, hood-like blooms in summer, followed...
Forest & Kim Starr
(Caribbean Trumpet Tree, Golden Tabebuia, Tree-of-gold)
Corky striped bark and a picturesque habit make this small, cold-tender South American tree interesting year round, but the dense clusters of large golden yellow flowers in late winter and spring is a sight to behold. The large pompon-like heads of ruffled trumpet-shaped blooms envelop the tree just as most or all of its leaves drop. It refoliates fully again shortly after bloom. Flowering may recur in moist summer spells. Dark brown bean-shaped seed pods follow the flowers. The compound, hand-shaped,...
(Apamate, White Tabebuia, Yellow Poui)
Attractive hand-like leaves and brilliant yellow to golden trumpet-shaped flowers makes the yellow poui a magnificent specimen tree for tropical gardens. This primarily evergreen tree is native to the sunny forests of northern South America, from the Amazon Basin to the Caribbean. It grows on cliffs or woods in dry to moist, nutrient-poor soils. Its corky tan bark is visually appealing. This tree, sometimes a large bushy shrub, attains an open, rounded canopy.
The compound leaves look like hands,...