Friday, October 15, 2010

Gum Vine

Aphanopetalum resinosum 

Flowering now: shiny “wet-look” foliage and masses of long-lasting, spectacular white sepals make this small climber one of our best local native climbers for garden use.

“Aphanopetalum” is a word meaning “invisible petals”, which seems surprising at first glance - as the plant seems to be covered with perfectly visible, gleaming, white ones. However, as with its relative, the New South Wales Christmas bush (Ceratopetalum apetalum), the actual flowers are tiny and inconspicuous. What we are seeing are beautiful sepals. They continue to ornament the bush as the flowers die and the fruits develop, creating the impression of a very long flowering season.
The leaves have tiny teeth on their margins, and the stems are covered with raised “lenticels” (little bumps) which make them rough to the touch.
This plant can grow as a dense, spreading shrub or deep groundcover if planted in a position where it has nothing to climb on, but it will twine if support is there, making a good privacy screen. It thrives on heavy pruning.
It can cope with very heavy shade (making it suitable for use indoors, or as a patio plant in a hanging basket). For good flowering, however, it prefers some sunshine each day.
This frost-hardy plant grows naturally on the rocky screes and stream banks on our eastern escarpment, where it can have its preferred cool, well-shaded root-run. Like all rainforest plants, it likes a rich soil full of compost, and a good mulch. Well-watered, it grows very rapidly - yet it also grows in dry rainforests, tolerating a degree of drought.

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