Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Gesneriad edition

Let's end the semester in style with a nice Friday fabulous flower.  Another one of our tropical epiphytes that provide so much winter color, in this case a gesneriad (Aeschynanthus) of uncertain hybrid ancestry.  And for an added bonus you get some of Mrs. Phactor's holiday decor; you generally don't find these in the wild with ribbons, but bet this would help attract more hummingbird pollinators.  This plant gets cut back early every summer to grow new shoots while outside, mostly in a partially shady location.  It generally flowers quite readily and for quite some time during December and January.  The only problem is that the nectar present as a reward to hummingbirds remains unconsumed, so when the corolla drops, so does a big drop of nectar.  So don't hang one of these over a carpet or nice piece of furniture.  The foliage is actually rather handsome on this variety showing a purple variegated pattern, and although looking delicate, this plant is quite tolerant of dry household conditions. 

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