Thursday, 5 February 2015

MELBOURNE STREET TREES 102 - CORKSCREW TREE

Strophanthus speciosus grows as either a shrub up to 4 metres tall or as a liana up to 16 metres long, with a stem diameter up to 3 centimetres. Its flowers feature a white turning orange corolla, red-streaked on the inside. Vernacular names for the plant include "common poison rope" and "forest poison rope " as well as "corkscrew flower". It is classified within the Apocynaceae family.

Habitats are forests and their margins from 300 metres to 1,400 metres altitude. Local medicinal uses of S. speciosus include snakebite treatment. The plant has also been used as arrow poison. S. speciosus is native to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland. It contains the toxic glycoside strophanthin.

This specimen here is found in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. However, I have seen it in at least two more places in suburban Melbourne gardens. Strophanthus speciosus is easily grown from seed sown in spring or during summer. Remove the feathery seeds from the pod and sow in trays filled with a well-drained sowing mix; seeds need only be covered lightly with the sowing mix of clean coarse sand or milled bark to stop them from blowing away The seeds should germinate within 4 to 8 weeks. Seedlings should only be transplanted after the first pair of true leaves has developed.

Semi-ripe hardwood and/or hardwood cuttings can be taken in spring or during summer. Treat with rooting hormone, and place in a well aerated medium, e.g. equal parts peat and polystyrene. Rooting period is 8 weeks, with another 2 weeks hardening off period. Water regularly but do not overwater. Prune occasionally. Spider mites can be a problem. Use appropriate measures to combat them.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.






3 comments:

  1. Чудовий ботанічний сад! а які суцвіття на деревах! Сумую за весною!

    xoxo, Juliana | PJ’ Happies :) | PJ’ Ecoproject

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have never seen this one before!
    Aletta from nowathome

    ReplyDelete

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