Plant of the Month May 2017

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Streptosolen jamesonii is an evergreen shrub of the Solanaceae family found in woodland in South America. In frost prone regions the plant needs protection with a minimum temperature of 7C.

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The stems are tall and slender and in the wild the plant tends to sprawl. The spectacular flowers are borne in loose clusters that change from yellow to bright orange as they mature. As the flowers are at different stages, the overall effect of yellow and orange gives it the name of ‘the marmalade bush’ The petals are tubular with spreading lobes giving this colourful flare. The flowering period is long and even in winter there may be a few flowers.

The second Latin name of this plant was named in honour of William Jameson (1796 – 1873) He was a Scottish physician who became a botanist and plant collector and became professor of botany in Ecuador.

In the conservatory at Reveley this wonderful plant reaches the roof. Now in early Spring it is covered in flower with the expectation to continue through the summer. It does not seem to have a fragrance and I haven’t noticed any insect pollinators in the daytime.

With its attractive name it might be thought edible and pretty in a salad. However, Brugsmansia and others of its relations also in the Solanaceae family are very poisonous. Probably wise just to admire this unusual plant.

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