The science bit
Vigorous evergreen climber, twining up to 13m. Stems glossy and purplish-green when young, hardening to dark brown with finely peeling bark. Leaves dark green, trifoliolate, each leaflet oblong-obovate up to 12cm long. Collections of flowers (inflorescences) pendulous, axillary, cylindrical racemes up to 90cm long; individual flowers clawed, waxy, brilliant aquamarine to luminous jade green.
- This plant grows only in the damp riverine rainforests of the Phillipines.
- The hanging collections of its flowers grow up 90cm long, and their bright colour attracts pollinating bats at twilight.
The jade vine's natural habitat is under threat from deforestation and general degradation. This not only puts a strain on the jade vine but also a great deal of other rare plants only found on the Phillipines.
These flowers are pollinated by bats, which are drawn to the glowing luminosity of the flowers at twilight. The bat hangs upside down and drinks the nectar from the flowers while brushing the top of their heads against the pollen. That pollen is then left on the female part of the next flower the bat visits, and pollination takes place. If the pollination is successful, the plant produces fruit that grows up to the size of a melon. At Eden our horticulturists mimic the action of the bat's head with their hands in order to pollinate our jade vine.
- Axillary: joined where leaf stalk meets stem.
- Pendulous: hanging.
- Raceme: a flowering structure where the individual flowers are clearly stalked, the newest and last to open being at the apex.
- Trifoliolate: with three leaflets.