Friday 2 September 2011: Petrea Volubilis, or Purple Wreath
Thank you, kind blippers, for all the good wishes to Damian. He is doing well, walking around with his little VAC machine; we hope that this contraption will get rid of the very last of the infection.
Forty years ago when we purchased our first property as newly weds, this Petrea Vine had already been a mature shrub. The area we bought in, was tropical, and this vine would flower profusely as long as it was given enough water.
With growing kids, a swimming pool was added close to the house and the Petrea's little flowers would descend into the pool like little rotors of a helicopter, twirling and turning as the wind blew it into the water ... With the filtering system, it did not pose too much of a problem.
Not indigenous to SA, yet it fared very well in our tropical climate.
This scrambling shrub or woody creeper reaches heights up to 5m. Its leaves feel like sandpaper and so do the vines that ramble and cling to any willing object. I was once in a hurry, and walked past a few loose vines which literally grabbed me around my neck! It was a painful experience and I carried bloody welts for a couple of days where the sandpaper effect took hold of a tender skin.
Its sprays of violet blue flowers with lavender-mauve calcyces cover the plant in spring or summer. The two-tones of the flower sprays give great richness and depth to the color, making this a truly lovely and spectacular plant.
It is spring time in Pretoria, and this is usually a very very short period, unfortunately. Summer is a jealous successor, and with today's temperatures in the very high twenties, it was more like summer than spring.