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Aeschynanthus , Aesculus, Aethionema, Agapanthus and Agapetes. A-Z of Plant genera.

Updated on November 14, 2015

Aeschynanthus flower



In this series, 'A-Z of Plant genera', we look at the species that occur with the genera, these include wild and cultivated species. The plants occur throughout the world and each are fascinating in their own right. Here we look at another five genera that begin with A. The plants within these genera are varied and many are used as garden/house plants. We commence with the genus Aeschynanthus.

Crimson Sunbird. pollinate the wild species of Aeschynanthus


The genus Aeschynanthus

Aeschynanthus, is a genus of about one hundred and fifty species in the family Gesneriaceae. They are evergreen,sub-tropical,generally trailing epiphytes { A plant that grows on another plant species such as a tree}, with brightly coloured flowers which are pollinated by Sunbirds of the family Nectariniidae.

The genus contains a large variety of plants in various forms. Some have the thick foliage, others much softer leaves,some are large some smaller and with a trailing habit. Several are used in temperate regions as house plants. They belong to the order of plants known as the Lamiales.

The Cultivars are a genus of evergreen,climbing,trailing or creeping perennial plants,useful for hanging baskets. However, they are frost tender Minimum temperature eighteen degrees C {64 F }. They require a fairly humid atmosphere and need to be placed out of direct sunlight Water sparingly in low temperatures. They can be propagated by tip cuttings in spring or in summer.

Aeschynanthus pulcher

Jardin Botanique de Montreal
Jardin Botanique de Montreal | Source

Aechynanthus speciosus and A.pulcher

Aeschynanthus speciosus, { see header image}, is some times found under A.slendens, is an evergreen, trailing perennial with waxy,narrowly, oval leaves usually arranged in whorls.They produce erect tubular,bright red/orange flowers which are borne in large clusters in the summer. The height and spread is from one to two feet.

Aeschyanthus pulcher, sometimes referred to as the Lipstick plant or the Red Bugle Vine,is an evergreen,climbing,or trailing perennial with an indefinite length and spread. It has thick oval leaves, and small, tubular,hooded ,bright red flowers,with yellow throats,borne in terminal clusters from summer to winter.

The care and watering is the same as the previous species.. The specific name of pulcher means pretty {flowers}.

Aeschynanthus radicans.


Aeschynanthus radicans. and other cultivars.

Aeschynathus radicans, is a native to the Malay and is a species noted for its excellence in hanging baskets. It is an epiphyte,growing to a length of one point five metres.The leaves are leathery and green,one and a half to three and a quarter inches long, they are ovate to lanceolate in form and arranged either opposite or in whorls.

The flowers are two to three inches long,tubular with the upper lobes shorter than the lower ones. They are generally scarlet with yellow throats. The species requires a great deal of light but not direct sunlight,it also requires humidity. Clipping keeps the plant more compact and the clippings may be used for cuttings. Place them in water to start the roots growing.

Other Cultivars, include Aeschynanthus marmoratus, which produces tubular greenish flowers.

Aesculus x carnea


California Buckeye Flower spike


Aesculus californica fruit.


The genus Aesculus.

The genus Aesculus of the family Sapindaceae,is composed of between thirteen and nineteen species of trees and shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere,including six species native to North America, and up to thirteen species native to Eurasia. The common name for these trees are 'Buckeye' and 'Horse chestnut'. The species Aescula hippocastanus has been dealt with in detail in another article of mine here on Hub pages.-'Horse Chestnut Tree'

The cultivars are a genus of deciduous trees and shrubs,grown for their bold,divided leaves and conspicuous,upright panicles or clusters of flowers,followed by fruits {Horse chestnuts/conkers}, sometimes these fruits are concealed in a spiny covering. They are fully frost hardy.They require sun or semi shade and fertile well drained soil. They may be propagted by seed in autumn,cultivars by budding in late summer or by grafting in late winter.

Aesculus x carnea is the Red Horse chestnut,the variety 'Briotii' named after a French Nurseryman,Pierre Louis Briot in 1858. It is a deciduous tree,with foliage consisting of five to seven leaflets, which are glossy and dark green. They produce panicles {often referred to as candles} of red flowers borne in late spring which make an impressive display. They may attain the height of up to one hundred feet,with a spread of seventy five feet. There are other varieties that include 'Fort McNair' and 'Pendula' with arching branches.

Other trees include Aescula californica,the California Buckeye,which is native to California in the USA, and generally produces a crown as broad as it is high. The foliage is dark green with five,rarely seven, leaflets,each up to six or seven inches long. The flowers are white to pale pink. The cultivar is a deciduous tree,a ,sometimes a shrubby tree with dense heads of fragrant,sometimes pink-tinged flowers,which appear in spring and early summer. The cultivar has small,dark green leaves with five to seven leaflets.

They prefer full sun and well drained soil and are frost hardy down to minus five C { -23F }. They grow to the height of thirty feet with a similar spread. Many other cultivars are available to the gardener all have similar characteristics and requirements.

Aethionema grandiflorum


Aethionema grandiflorum


The genus Aethionema

The genus Aethionema is sometimes encountered in older books under the genus Eunomia. They are a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Brassciaceae family {cabbage family}. They are collectively referred to as the Stone Cresses. They are native to Europe,West Asia,and Turkey where they grow on the limestone mountain sides.

The genus name derives from Greek words that together indicate 'to light up yarn' thread}. and the common name of Stonecress alludes to its creeping habit in its favoured habitat on stony or rocky sites.

The Aethionema cultivars are described as being a genus of short-lived,evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs,sub-shrubs and perennials grown for their prolific flowers. They are fully hardy requiring sun and well drained soil. They may be propagated by soft wood cuttings in spring or by seed sown in autumn. Most species self seed readily.

Aethionema grandiflorum {pulchellum},is often referred to as the Persian Stonecress,,is a short lived, evergreen or semi-evergreen, a lax shrub and bears tiny pale to deep rose pink flowers in loose sprays in spring and summer. The foliage is blue green,narrowly lance-shaped. It attains the height of up to one foot with a similar spread. They require full sun and very well drained soil. They are fully frost hardy.

Aethionema armenum


Aethionema saxatile


Aethionema armenum and other species.

Aethionema armenum are short-lived evergreen or semi-evergreen,dense sub-shrubs,with narrow, blue green leaves. They carry loose sprays of tiny pale to deep pink flowers in summer. They have a height and spread of about six inches. They require full sun and very well drained soil. They are fully hardy. There are many cultivars available to the gardener. They all have similar characteristics and requirements.

Native species include A.retsinia,which is endemic to Greece,where it is found on rocky shores. It is a species classed as being Critically endangered due to habitat loss. A.saxatile is a species found in the European Alps.

Agapanthus africanus


The genus Agapanthus

The genus Agapanthus, is a single genus in the sub-family Agapanthoidea,and the family Amaryllidaceae, . The genus name derives from two Greek words the first indicating agape + anthos,meaning flower.

Despite being extensively studied there is still a dispute among botanical authorities to the actual number of species,which varies from six to ten de[ending on the authority. However, they all seem to agree that the type species is Agapanthus africanus . A great many hybrids and cultivars have been produced throughout the warmer parts of the world. They are all native to South Africa, although they have naturalized in other parts of the world. They are herbaceous perennials which bloom in generally through the summer months. The foliage is basal and generally curved,linear and up to twenty four inches long.

The Cultivars are a group of clump-forming ,perennials,some of which are evergreen with erect stems that carry large umbels of bell to trumpet-shaped flowers,usually blue and often fading to purple with age. The leaves are strap-shaped.The narrow-leaved species are frost hardy,broad leaved ones tend to half hardy.

They require full sun and a moist but well drained soil. The crowns need to be protected in winter with ash or mulch. These plants increase slowly but may be propagated by division in spring. They may also be raised from seed in Autumn or Spring. However, named cultivars will not come true from seed.

Agapanthus africanus


Agapanthus africanus.

Agapanthus africanus,The Nile Lily,{ African Lily in the UK.}, is an evergreen clump-forming perennial,a native to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. It attains the height of up to three feet with a spread of about twenty inches. They are classed as half hardy {Temperatures down to nought degrees C { 32 F}.

The flowers are produced in rounded umbels of deep blue colour,on upright stems above the broad,dark green leaves. They are generally grown in tubs or large pots in cooler climes,so that they can be moved to protect them from frosts.

Foliage of Agapanthus africanus


Agapanthus sub-species 'orentalis'


Agapanthus inapertus

Kirstenbosch Garden Cape Town.
Kirstenbosch Garden Cape Town. | Source

Agapanthus praecox 'occidentalis' white variety


Other species of Agapanthus.

Agapanthus inapertus,is a clump-forming perennial up to five feet tall with a spread of two feet,and this species is frost hardy. They produce pendent,narrowly tubular, blue flowers borne on very erect stems above the narrow bluish-green leaves, in late summer and autumn. White cultivars are also available to the gardener. {see image}

Agapanthus praecox is often referred to as the common Agapanthus, the Blue Lily or Lily of the Nile ,it is native of Natal and the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Like many other sorts it has been introduced and become naturalized in many other countries.

It is a variable species with open faced flowers and is divided into three sub-species.A,praecox praecox, A.p orientlais and A p minimus.

A p praecox is a sub-species that occurs in the eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It usually attains the height of up to one metre tall and has ten to eleven leathery leaves,and produces blue flowers from December to February. The sub-species A p minimus occurs in the south western Cape and Eastern Cape.It is the smallest of the sub-species. The flowering season is from November to March,this species produces white flowers to various shaded of blue.

A.p orientalis,occurs in the eastern Cape and southern KwaZula-Natal. The foliage of this species is strap-shaped and arching,not leathery ,up to two and a half feet long. Again the flower colours range from blue to white. Agapanthus praecox,and its cultivars are a popular and common garden plant. However, they escape into the wider countryside and are now an invasive species in some regions.

Agapetes serpens

Berlin Botanical garden Germany.
Berlin Botanical garden Germany. | Source

Agapetes serpens


The genus Agapetes

The genus Agapetes, is a genus of semi-climbing plants native to the Himalayas and grown for their attractive pendulous bunches of red,tubular which bloom over a long period. They belong to the Ericaceae {heather} family. The most popular garden species seems to be Agapetes serpens,an evergreen,arching to pendulous scandent shrub,best grown with support as a perennial climber.

It has small lance-shaped lustrous leaves and pendent rose red flowers with darker veins. They flower from spring . They attain the height {length } of two to three metres. The minimum temperature requirement is five degrees C.{41 F }.

Other cultivars include Agapetes 'Ludgvan Cross', another popular garden species,an evergreen shrub,which may be upright or scrambling,with simple ,leathery foliage,arranged opposite to each other. It produces solitary or clustered bell-shaped flowers tubular or urn-shaped,with five short lobes. They are pink an occur along the branches from spring to summer.

They require a sand or loamy based ,well drained growing medium,that is acid in nature. During the summer they prefer partial shade on a west or east facing wall. They are generally grown under glass in well drained lime free compost in filtered light. They may be propagated from semi-ripe cuttings with bottom heat in late summer. They may also be propagated by layering in spring.

They are grown in containers as Patio plants during the summer. pruning should be kept to a minimum.

Agapetes incurvata



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    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb,

      Thank you, your last point about new variety of plants being created regularly by nursery men and growers is so true, that is why the subject of plants is forever interesting. Best wishes to you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There are such amazing flora out there for al of us to enjoy, plus the fact that new varieties are being propagated continually. Well done.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Lancashire north west England


      Glad you found this interesting, God's creations are indeed wonderful. Thank you too, for the pinned, g+ and tweet, you are very kind. Best wishes to you.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hello Devika,

      Once again I thank you for your visit and kind comments. Best wishes to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi D.A.L. A beautiful hub! I like the photos and a very insight to each flower mentioned. I shared on Twitter.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Gorgeous and so much I did not know....such fragile looking creations dot our landscape and are so complex blessed we are to have such beauty to behold...thank you for sharing this information with us....Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

      shared pinned g+ tweeted


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