Remember that movie Romancing The Stone? I remember the premise had something to do with trying to find a rare and precious emerald known as El Corazon. The Plant Provocateur is always looking for treasure and recently while on a visit to the Huntington Botanical Gardens came across something similar to the preciousness of a rare emerald. Behold! The jade mystique of Strongylodon macrobotrys commonly referred to as Emerald Creeper or Jade Vine. As you can see from these far out flowers this is one plant with some exotic 'eleganza'. The flowers remind me of jesters. Check out that color! Have you seen anything like that in nature? It's extraordinary.
Strongylodon macrobotrys comes to us from the Phillipines. It thrives in tropical climates, indoors, or a heated greenhouse. As a vine, it is an evergreen woody climber that can grow up to 40 feet and beyond. In late winter/early spring this vine produces 1-2 foot long grape-like clusters of blue-green patinated buds that extend like soft claws and unfold into captivating large pea or beak-like flowers like you've never seen. Stonglyodon macrobotrys likes full to part sun, fertile, well-draining soil, and is hardy to about 40 degrees fahrenheit/4 degrees celsius.
Strongylodon macrobotrys outfits itself in handsome tropical leaves of three. Another feature that really gets my pulse going are the deep purple stems that lead to the flower buds. Combine both of these features with the pendant flower clusters and you have a specimen of alluring awesomeness. If you're an adventurer like me and want to give Strongylodon macrobotrys a go, check them out at Aloha Tropicals. Grow one or head on over to your local conservatory and see if they've got one growing so you too can experience the beauty of the jade mystique.