Thursday, 31 August 2006

The black-and-white flower show

Planting black coral vine (Kennedia nigricans, Fabaceae) in my tiny garden was a big mistake. To call it vigorous is an understatement. It is vigorous in the way that Caligula was high-spirited.

Kennedia nigricans occurs naturally along the southern coast of Western Australia, from Albany to Esperance. It does well in cultivation to the point of being a weed in the Adelaide Hills. It's not quite a weed in my garden but I've noticed tendrils insinuating their way through the fence and sneaking across the lane.

When British botanist John Lindley described this species from plants raised in cultivation, he wrote that it was "a fine addition to the species of green-house twiners". I'm sure that Lindley wouldn't have been quite so enthusiastic if his greenhouse had disappeared under a glossy green that seems to double in size every day.

Still, it's worth the effort for the stunning black flowers. This is the cultivar 'Minstrel'. In wild-type plants, the patch on the standard is a stunning lemon yellow.


tapperboy said...

Something I've never seen upclose. Really lovely the bloom, your photo shows it off very nicely.

Snail said...

They're gorgeous! Black flowers are always spectacular. said...

Hey There,

If you're still growing this plant I was wondering if I could get a cutting? Happy to send payment for it with shipping to Sydney. Been looking high and low for this variety, so pretty! :D

All the best,