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Jade Vine Winds Down after Extraordinary Performance
By Matt Cole, Director of Education on Jun 9, 2008
Did the jade vine's blooms reach June? Maybe... But I didn't see it. The end of May appears to have brought the the end of the blooming run. Still, that's almost twice the time I first expected.
Nick Snakenberg, Curator of Orchids, is the man who originally sent out the word that this legume was starting something remarkable. He had been thinking that perhaps it was not suitable for the conservatory, that it was never going to succeed and bloom. Offhandedly, he remarked to another person that they might replace it with something else. Now it is an old saw with botanists and gardeners that plants bloom either when they are very happy and content, or when they are afraid of death. Did Nick scare the bloom out of the Stronglydon? Does a liana have feelings too? When we discussed it, Nick did have another theory. It turns out that the Gardens also changed the pattern of night illumination in the conservatory. A tropical native like Stronglydon macrobotrys is not used to a long day–a normal day plus night illumination in this case. I can imagine that the jade vine simply missed the natural cues for its seasonal flowering. I asked him what he thought might happen next. "Well," he said, grinning, "it might be time for some pruning..." If merely threatening to cut it back brought weeks of blooming, I can only imagine what careful tending will bring next time!