Saturday, July 20, 2013

Argyreia nervosa - Elephant Vine

Argyreia nervosa, or commonly called names such as elephant vine, silver or wooly morning glory. The flowers are reminiscent of morning glories and it is actually a member of the Convolvulaceae family. This includes the edible leaves of the water convolvulus, known locally as kangkong, which is delicious when stir-fried with shrimp paste (belacan).



This perennial vine is a robust climber and grow rapidly, producing large leathery leaves.



The young silvery shoots of this creeper can extend about a foot daily. I had nails hammered into this external wall, all the way up to the first floor balcony to help it to clamber up.

 

  Argyreia nervosa seems to have unlimited growth. Right after pruning, it grows quickly to cover up the wall and spill into the balcony.
 

Argyreia nervosa has a velvety texture. The new growth of this vine is silver and densely covered with fine, silky hairs, giving it the appearance of been silver-plated.


The silvery young leaf can be inserted between the pages of a thick book to obtain a well preserved pressed leaf. 


 

The mature leaves are heart-shaped and have a light velvety feel due to the presence of hairs.

The purple-lavender flowers add interest by breaking the monotony of the large background of thick green foliage.


 
 
The off-white sepals are frilly like delicate lace.

 

The trumpet-like flowers are produced at the vine tips. Hence for the blooms to flourish, I have to exercise restraint when pruning. Most of the time they are left to grow freely until they reach a state resembling the wilderness in my balcony.


Carpenter bees are frequent visitors.
 
The flowers of the Elephant Vine are thick with larger tubules to accomodate  the bulky Carpenter bees unlike  ... 




  the more delicate flowers of Thunbergia grandiflora.



Sometimes when the Carpenter bee is too large for the tubular part of the Thunbergia grandiflora flower, or just being clumsy, the flower gets torn and tattered. This is evidenced from the condition of the two flowers on the right.

Unlike the flowers of Thunbergia grandiflora, the Argyreia nervosa flowers are generally still in pristine condition after the 'rough and tumble' visit from the bees.


This is seen somewhere outside an housing area in Kuala Lumpur (Vasana 25) - a cascade of Elephant Vine flowers tumbling down a hill slope and retaining wall.



30 comments:

  1. Cudownie musi wyglądać Twój balkon ozdobiony taką śliczną roślną. Ma bardzo ładny kształt liści i delikatne kwiaty sprzyjające swoja budową owadom. Pozdrawiam.
    Wonderfully must look your balcony decorated with such a pretty plant. It has a very nice shape leaves and delicate flowers favoring its construction insects. Yours.

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    1. I planted this vine and trained it up the wall as I like the way its large heart shaped leaves and thick-petalled flowers softened the appearance of the bare concrete walls.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Simo. Its good to hear from you after a long absence :D

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  3. That vine looks spectacular against the pale wall! Such a perfect backdrop for it.

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    1. Hi Snail. It looks quite like Jack's bean stalk. It grows very fast - many inches a day.

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  4. When I see a plant like that, growing up a wall with probably very little soil at its root, I wonder where it gets all of its nutrition from to keep on growing and growing in such a luscious fashion. The Elephant Vine must be an endless source of pleasure to you.

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    1. I love all my vines and I'm wondering whether I would be able to move them all to my new house in a few months time.

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  5. What a beauty Elsie I wish I could grow it in my garden. Does it bring scent?
    Have a wonderful sunday.

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    1. Its a giant beauty but unfortunately it does not have any scent. Have a good weekend too!

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  6. Another beautiful vine! I especially like the silvery new leaves! How exciting that you're moving to a new house.

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    1. Its exciting to move into a new house with a larger garden but also lots of work ahead - the garaden and the house itself.

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  7. The vines of robust climber sometimes reminded me of “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The silvery color and touch of the new vines is new to me. I wonder how high your vines would reach. I have a curtain of morning glories in front of the west windows. I let the vines twine horizontally and then vertically on the lattice made of bamboo. Lovely images as always.

    Yoko

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    1. I'm sure that this 'Jack's Beanstalk' can climb very high - up to the third storey of the house if I ever allowed it to.

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  8. I love the silvery colour of the young leaves - how unusual! It does seem like a great climber, and how wonderful to have it twine its way up the wall to the balcony where it dangles those colourful, delicate looking flowers :)

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    1. Actually the flowers are not delicate - they are thick and tough unlike those of the Thunbergia grandiflora.

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  9. beautiful captures and the colours...lovely and delicate!

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  10. Nice photos! I've never seen 'argyreia-nervosa' but 'Thunbergia grandiflora' I've planted several years ago, here in North it grows as annual. I liked it!

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    1. It's probably a tropical vine. The roots are used by some in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and conditions,including diseases of nervous system. Seeds are used too for its akaloids.

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  11. All just bursting with health and vigour ! Lovely photos as per usual :-)

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    1. Hi Jane, the vitality from the vine is infectious. i can feel the positive vibes and energy.

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  12. What a lovely flower - so much like the morning glory.
    It has beautiful silver padded leaf at the back too.
    Do sunbirds visit the flowers and drink nectar from them too?

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    1. Hi James, I have not seen sunbirds going near the flowers. I think it is not one of their favourites.

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  13. Very enchanting vine... pretty pretty leaves...

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  14. I never heard or seen this plant before! It's so beautiful! The young leaves are really unique!

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    1. Actually you can see it in people's home. I used to play 'masak-masak' with the leaves and flowers when I was a kid. I also collected the young silver leaves and pressed them between the telephone directory.

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  15. Do you think my neighbours upstairs will thank me if I plant this lovely vine in my apartment's balcony? ;)

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    1. It all depends on your relationship with your upstair neighbour. If they have been consulted beforehand, and if she is a plant lover and willing to sweep off the faded flowers and leaves from the balcony, then it would be floral glory for all :) Good luck and happy gardening!

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