(Devil's Backbone, Veldt Grape, Winged Treebine)
Here's a succulent tropical vine that has more interesting stems than leaves. Winged treebine hails from tropical Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and eastern India. Odd-looking and generally leafless, its primary feature are thick, jointed, four-angled green stems.
The leaves, which aren't all that frequent, occur opposite tendrils at nodes on the winged stems. Each leaf is oval or three-lobed with coarse teeth and a fleshy texture. In summer, tiny clusters of green-yellow flowers appear, followed...
J.M. Garg, Wikimedia Commons Contributor
Across its native lands, locals would drink the sap of this treebine as a source of emergency water during sojourns through the forests, prairies and shrublands. Treebine is a tall-growing woody vine or liana native to subtropical highlands from Bhutan and northeastern India to Thailand. It's semi-evergreen, but seasonal chill or severe drought leads to it being fully deciduous in some climates. The vine stems are relatively smooth and cylindrical.
Newly emerging leaves are hairy, but mature...
(Treebine, Variegated Grape )
Pretty and glossy deep green leaves occur on this vine that inhabits rainforests from India and Bhutan southward all the way to northernmost Australia. A treebine, sometimes called variegated grape, develops a gray-barked trunk with herbaceous stems that clasp with tendrils.
The leaves are shiny and green, shaped like poplar leaves. Another way to describe them is as shallow-based hearts. Leaf margins have sparse, tiny teeth. Tendrils, if present, rise opposite the foliage on the stems. Emerging...
(Ivy of Paraguay)
At first glance, you may mistake the ivy of Paraguay as a miniaturized Virginia creeper. The small, leathery, green leaves on this tropical evergreen vine -- native from southern Brazil westward to northern Chile -- comprise three or five leaflets.
The medium green leaves on this fast-growing and slender vine are accompanied by tendrils. In summertime, tiny green flowers occur in clusters opposite the leaves. Glossy oval berries ensue. The leaves and fruits contrast the reddish stems nicely.
Lovely long, white, tubular flowers and colorful red and blue seeds makes the starfish clerodendrum among the most beautiful large shrubs in the tropical garden. A fast growing, and relatively short-lived shrub, it is native to the island of Sulawesi (Celebes) in Indonesia. Its leaves are smooth, glossy and handsomely green with deep veins. In late spring, the branch tips fill with clusters of pinkish, pleated flowerbuds that are very pretty, and soon thereafter the long, white flower tubes emerge...
(Shooting Star, Starburst Clerodendrum)
This is one of the tropic's most beautiful flowering shrubs. Large, dark-green and burgundy leaves are the backdrop for firework-resembling, pink and white flower clusters in late winter and early spring. A large, frost-tender shrub from the Philippines, shooting star is typically evergreen but will lose foliage if the dry season is exceptionally cool or dry. The leaves can grow quite long, being oval to oblong in shape, a dull, dark green above with a glossy, purple to burgundy underside.
(Variegated Shooting Star)
Large cream, dark-green and burgundy variegated leaves are the backdrop for fireworks-like, pink and white flower clusters in late winter and early spring. A large, frost-tender shrub from the Philippines, 'Brandonii' was selected by Mark Herndon of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1995. It is typically evergreen but will lose foliage if the dry season is exceptionally cool or dry. The leaves can grow quite long, being oval to oblong in shape. They are dark green with patches of pale green and cream above...
The fuzzy, bright green leaves of Javanese glorybower and its clusters of bright orange flowers in the warm months are a beautiful bu pesky addition to a tropical garden. A clumping and suckering evergreen shrub from Sri Lanka and Indonesia, it will aggressively spread itself across the garden, filling in gaps between or shading out other shrubs. The leaves are rounded, almost heart-shaped, tapering to a modest tip, colored bright green and are downy textured. Most heavily concentrated at the semi-woody...
Crinkly, deeply veined leaves create a lovely backdrop to the festive orange flowers that grace flaming glorybower. This tropical, twining, sprawling evergreen is a native of western Africa, from Senegal to Angola. Its deeply veined leaves are bright green when they emerge and then deepen to glossy dark green. The blooms can appear anytime of year but the heaviest showing of blossoms is in midwinter, just after the solstice.
The flowers heavily cover the twining stems and are borne in big flattened...