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Red Jane Vine: The Spectacular Creeper
Red Jane Vine (Mucuna bennettii F.Muell.) other known as Scarlet Jade Vine, Flame of the Forest and the New Guinea Creeper was discovered in 1876 by Ferdinand von Mueller, a Victorian government botanist. It is a fast-growing, large, leguminous perennial woody climbing vine (liana) and flowering plant under the genus of Mucuna that belongs to Fabaceae (pea and bean) family.
It is native species to Papua New Guinea and commonly pollinated by birds and bats.
Its distinctive feature exhibit of having a spectacular orange-red, cascading chained inflorescence flower arranged in a long pendulous racemes up to 150 cm long, each flower measuring 3cm to 7cm long, claw-shaped, beaked at apex; 2-4 flowers at each node. Glossy yellow-green to green leaves, pinnately trifoliolate, terminal middle is larger with acuminate to acute apex, fairly broad elliptic to ovate in shape and inequilateral base. Fruits were in pod covered with coarse hairs, valve, septate or filled between the seeds.
It is considered a distant cousin of Jade Vine (Strongolydon macrobotrys A. Gray), native vine species of the tropical forest of Philippines due to its similar characteristics. But not be confused because this exhibits a brilliant bluish-green to mint green inflorescence flower.
Red Jane VineClick thumbnail to view full-size
Flowering and Fruiting
It starts to bloom within two years depending on the cultivation and care of the plant. Only mature twigs produced a prolific flowers. Season of flowering and fruiting during the months of January, February, June, July, August, November and December.
It can be propagated by seeds and/or by layering. Seeds germinated in nursery under favourable condition. For layering, it is recommended to use the mature healthy branch and be done on late summer or wet season so as ample water is available for roots rapid development. Its seedlings can be transferred into a shady area usually near the trees or trellis/pergola in order for them to climb.
For its growth preferably moist but fertile, well-drained soil is a requisite to flourish it. Fertilizers such as phosphorus may apply to boost root development.
Regular pruning and removal of dead twigs are recommended to have a more healthy branches.
Use and Distribution
Widely planted as ornamental plant in garden for decoration purposes.
It is found worldwide in the forests of semi-tropical to tropical areas. It was cultivated in Tahiti, Australia and Hawaii; and introduced (exotic) species in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. In Papua New Guinea, it is abundant in tropical rainforest and thrive most in wet areas and near river system; at an altitude up to 1000 meters.
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