Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dalechampia aristolochiaefolia - Silk Crepe Flower

This is definitely the most unusual plant I've got growing in my garden.  I found it in a local nursery just last year, so mine is still a baby.  It's been quite hard to find a lot of information about it ... so I'll share the little I know.

It's from Costa Rica apparently the Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) family ... and grows well in tropical and semi-tropical climates.  It needs lots of bright sunlight ... will grow in full sun and partial shade ... likes a moderately moist soil ... and thrives in warm conditions.  Apparently once it is established, it is somewhat drought tolerant.

This Dalechampia is a fast-growing evergreen climber with green, heart-shaped leaves ...

and bright purple blooms.  It's commonly called the 'Silk Crepe Flower' because the bloom does feel like silk.

The purple part is in fact a bract. The creamy-brown bit in the middle is quite sticky ... the little red heart-shaped things are tiny flowers I think, but I'm not certain.

And then there are these cauliflower-looking things that appear after a while ... what these are I hazard to guess!

Then finally the bracts fall off, leaving the tiny heart-shaped flowers with the heart-shaped leaves in the background.

Seems like rather a perfect plant to talk about on Valentine's Day!!


  1. What an unusual and beautiful flower to share on Valentine's Day!

  2. What a beautiful plant - I love how you've shown the amazing details!

  3. Hi Bernie,
    This is new to me. Looks extraordinary the way the flowers develop. Thanks for sharing and the great photos
    cheers ian

  4. Very unusual plant, never heard of it before. I am sure if i find it here it would be suitable to my subtropical climate as well. blooms are pretty too.

  5. Lotusleaf ... it's a plant that often draws visitor's attention and I admit that I had never seen it before last year either.

  6. Thanks Cyndy ... it has such an unusual form. I'm still trying to work out what all those strange bits are!

  7. Ian ... apparently it's becoming more widely known over in places like California ... but I still can't find too many people here who grow it. I for one really don't know that much about it, but it's a terrific easy-to-grow climber.

  8. Muhammad ... I'm sure it would grow very easily in your climate ... it's one of those easy plants to grow. It just needs some bright sunlight, warm temperatures and moderate watering. It's slow to start off, but then becomes quite a vigorous climber after a while.

  9. It is a beautiful and interesting climber. I have not seen this one before. Great how you explained and showed all the pretty details of this unusual plant. Keep collecting!

  10. What a wonderfully strange plant. Beautiful as well! I to have never seen it before.

  11. Thanks Titania and Floridagirl ... glad you enjoyed the photos of this strange plant ... it is definitely different!

  12. Such an interseting plant! I would have bought it right away. I like the leaves and the purple bracts. I hope to see one in the nurseries here ;-)

  13. aloha bernie,

    i've always loved this vine, its really a it climbing up your stairrail to the balcony?

    the close-up detail is fanatastic

  14. Hi Bernie :) What a striking plant and the colour is so vivid!

  15. What a truly unique flower this is. Very gorgeous to me.

  16. It's a new plant for me. Very unusual! I like the texture and the color too!

  17. I've just purchased one for my garden in Brisbane. Not quite sure where to plant it yet although I saw a nice example growing in The Gap on a chain link fence. You're right about there not being much info but perhaps that adds to the mystique of this plant? :-)

    1. Ive just brought one in toowoomba .fingers crossed

  18. Hello.
    Yes ... Yours is beautiful, has better conditions for growth.
    I love it .. the unusual shape of flowers.
    I really like this kind of flowers in the garden, although
    in my climate it is difficult to cultivar


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