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Asteranthera ovata (Cav.) Hanst.

Modern name

Asteranthera ovata (Cav.) Hanst.


Columnea ovata Cav.

A creeping or climbing evergreen shrub which in nature inhabits the trunks of living trees and fallen timber, branching and rooting freely at the nodes. Stems slender, clad with whitish hairs. Leaves opposite, variable in shape but generally rcundish, 13 to 112 in. long, obtuse at the apex, covered with pale bristly hairs and edged with three to six coarse teeth; they are rather thick in texture where exposed to light but thinner in shade. Flowers rich raspberry-pink, borne singly in the leaf-axils at midsummer and later; corolla tubular at the base, spreading at the mouth, where it is about 112 in. wide. Anthers united into a star-shaped cluster – whence the name Asteranthera. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 15.

Native of the temperate forests of Chile and neighbouring parts of Argentina from about 40° S. to the Straits of Magellan; introduced by Comber in 1926. It inhabits the cooler and moister types of forest, where it is often to be found with Desfontainia spinosa. Here, thanks to the saturated atmosphere, it is able to grow in open and quite sunny places in the forest, forming dense mats on logs and tree-trunks and so profuse in flower that scarcely a leaf can be seen. In cultivation this delightful species has proved fairly hardy, but rather shy to flower, no doubt because the humid yet bright conditions that it demands are not easy to reproduce. Propagation is, however, so easy (by cuttings, or division) that experiment would present no difficulties. A leafy soil is essential, and something to climb up or over. At Nymans in Sussex, where it has been cultivated since Comber first introduced it, it thrives on shady walls of both sandstone and brick. At Logan in Wigtownshire it is grown on the face of a peat wall. Dryness, at the root and in the air, are its chief enemies. It also thrives at Brodick, in the Isle of Arran.

Asteranthera ovata

Asteranthera ovata



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]