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Metaplexis japonica (Thunb.) Makino

Modern name

Metaplexis japonica (Thunb.) Makino


Pergularia japonica Thunb.; M. stauntonii Schult.; M. chinensis (Bunge) Decne.; Urostelma chinense Bunge

A deciduous climber, with twining stems covered at first with more or less loose down. Leaves opposite, heart-shaped, tapered to a point at the apex, 2 to 412 in. long, half to two-thirds as wide near the base, which is deeply notched; somewhat downy on the midrib beneath, dull green; stalk 1 to 3 in. long. Flowers produced from July to September in racemes 3 to 5 in. long, in but one of the axils of each pair of leaves; flower-stalk downy. The flowers are frequently crowded at the end of the inflorescence as in an umbel. Corolla dull rosy-white, about 12 in. diameter, with five reflexed lobes united into a bell-shaped base; the lobes are narrow, curled back at the points, and covered with pale hairs on the upper side. Seed-vessels 4 in. long, spindle-shaped, the seeds furnished at one end with a tuft of beautiful silky hairs 114 in. long.

Native of China and Japan; introduced in 1862. It is not often seen in gardens, but it has flowered and borne seed in the vicarage garden at Bitton, near Bristol. It usually dies back to the ground in winter in the open. It is interesting, but not particularly attractive, being allied to Marsdenia (Cionura) erecta, which has smaller leaves, sturdier stems, and more rounded petals.



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]