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The scarlet Rangoon creeper


A WIDELY known garden climber, the scarlet Rangoon creeper is a native of Africa which was introduced in the tropics as a popular ornamental. Botanically known as Quisqualis indica, the creeper can often be seen as a hedge plant or covering compound walls.

It is a luxuriant plant with opposite oblong and obvoate leaves which abruptly acuminate apically and are obtuse to basally rounded. The petioles are about six to eight millimetres long and the leaf blades 3.5 centimetres to 15 cm long and 1.5 cm to 5.5 cm wide. The flowers are short, have auxiliary and terminal drooping racemes (that are white first and then rosy and scarlet) with a narrow tube.

The fruit is oblong with sharp angles, glabrous and black, with only one seed.

The plant can be propagated through seeds and rooted cuttings, the latter being the simplest way. The seed and leaves are used in medicine.

The plant flowers between March and May and is noted for its attractive drooping and scarlet flowers. Flowering is profuse and the process emits a mildly fragrant odour, especially attractive to insects.

The plant is ideal to grow, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of buildings and gardens.

Text and picture by

V.A. SATHIYAMURTHY
K. RAJAMANI

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