Yellow Stars and White Wings
Back in January I made a New Year’s Resolution to learn more about plants that usually are only seen in conservatories. So, I’m back at it.
I almost forgot about this plant until I visited the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle two weeks ago and they were still in flower. This is Mussaenda luteola ( Mew-say-en-duh loo-tee-oh-la) or white wing.
The first set of pictures above were taken on June 5th and when I went there on August 11, they were still blooming! I couldn’t believe it!
The Mussaenda luteola
Mussaenda is native to tropical parts of Africa, Asia, and Malaysia. It is in the same family with Gardenias, Ixora, Pentas, and coffee plants. It has golden star shaped flowers surrounded by creamy yellow sepals (individual leaves of a calyx which is the outermost series of leaflike parts of a flower). It is a small evergreen perennial shrub that grows approximately 4′ h × 3′ wide. It is hardy to Zone 11 here in the U.S., and her in Florida, it is used as hedges, where it blooms all year. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees love this shrub. Fertile soil is a must as it is subject to nutrient deficiencies and fertilizing is also helpful with this problem.
I hope I can find one of these to buy, as I’d like to try it in my house or sunroom. The yellow star shaped flowers are amazing! They caught my eye right away.