Asarina erubescens

The species is indigenous to Mexico, where it grows at elevations of approximately 1,000 m (3,300 ft). It belongs to a relatively small genus comprising only about 10 species distributed in Mexico and the southern states of America.

In 1956 Pennel, De Wolf and other specialists revised this and related genera and gave the genus Maurandia the new name Asarina (in older literature one may find many species of snapdragon under this name).

Asarina erubescens (syn. Maurandia erubescens) is a relatively robust, 2- to 3-m-(6- to 10-ft-) high, persistent shrub that becomes woody at the base. It twines over shrubs and trees to which it clings with the leaf rachises and curved stems. It has beautiful foliage, for the leaves are unusually soft and tomen-tose to felted. The flowers, produced from mid-summer until autumn, are up to 7.5 cm (3 in) long. The fruit is a large spherical capsule containing a large number of tiny, flat, winged seeds.

Asarina barclaiana, likewise from Mexico, is also often cultivated. It has three-sided leaves and long, trumpet-like flowers covered on the outside with glandular hairs as in the species. The flowers of the type species are purple but white or lilac forms are known too; these, however, are not as pretty.

The most important condition in culture is a rich, rather heavy compost, such as John Innes potting compost No. 2, a warm, sunny and sheltered site in summer and if possible cool conditions in winter. In spring the plants should be cut back hard to the woody parts, transplanted, and watered more liberally (they should be watered lightly in winter). They are readily propagated by means of cuttings as well as seeds, which, if sown early enough in spring, will produce flowering plants the same year.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Asarina erubescens

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