Saturday, January 23, 2010

Combretum constrictum - the Powderpuff Combretum.

This is a very showy and bushy vining shrub, originally from Thailand.  It is a multi-stemmed plant with long arching canes.

The attraction of this plant however, is in its spectacular round red powderpuff flowers.  These buds start appearing towards the end of spring ....

... slowly start to open

and by mid-summer there's an abundance of blooms.  The photo below shows the brilliant long red stamens that pop out of each star-shaped flower.  It's a flower with a fascinating form.

It is sometimes called the Thailand Powderpuff Combretum and is very attractive to both butterflies ....

and birds, especially the sunbirds we see around here.

This shrub is a marvellous addition to any tropical garden.


  1. The flower looks like Rambutan fruit ;-) Very nice to see birds and butterflies are attracted to the flower. Btw, very good shot of the butterfly! One day if I see a dwarf version of this kind of flower, I would seriously consider having one in my small garden.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Stephanie ... the flower has always reminded my of a rambutan too. The butterfly in the photo is the beautiful Red-bodied Swallowtail: Pachliopta polydorous.

  3. What a beautiful plant - I think with that flower it could be mistaken for an Australian native! The photos of the Swallowtail and the Sunbird visiting it are wonderful. One day I'm going to head up North if for nothing else but to enjoy the butterflies!
    Thanks for your thoughts on the Cassia fistula. I think this is all part of my learning to pay more attention to where I live and what is best to grow.

  4. Thanks for your visit Heidi. I wish I could get more photos of the butterflies that visit my garden ... but they're just too quick for me! Luckily this one was taking it's time sucking up the nectar, so I got the shot. We do have some stunners up here ... well worth the visit just to see some of our butterflies.

  5. {{{ From post: "This is a very showy and bushy vining shrub, originally from Thailand. [...] It is sometimes called the Thailand Powderpuff Combretum" }}}

    Despite its common name, Combretum constrictum (Powderpuff Combretum) is actually native to tropical Africa -- namely Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria & Mozambique.

    Some info below for reference:
    * USDA GRIN Taxonomy
    * African Plant Database (South African National Biodiversity Institute & Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques)
    * Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa (JSTOR)


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