Medinilla magnifica, known also as rose grape, is a shrub species native to the Philippines.
This member of the Melastomataceae can grow up to 2m in height. Its leaves are leathery, dark green and have distinct pale veins. Growing in its natural rainforest habitat, Medinilla magnifica is usually epiphytic (The Firefly Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs, 2001). Initially, it is the “active incurvation” of the stem which accounts for the hanging appearance of the flower head; eventually, it is the weight of the inflorescence itself that makes it pendulous (see: Weberling, F. 1988. The architecture of inflorescences in the Myrtales. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 75(1):226-310).
This shrub is a popular ornamental plant because of its large bracts and clusters of pink flowers, but it requires high humidity and will not endure temperatures below 18°C. The inflorescences of Medinilla magnifica may bloom from spring through summer. Today’s photograph shows the inflorescence in bud; for photographs of the flowers, see Medinilla magnifica on the site of the University of Connecticut’s Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Greenhouses. Seeds or cuttings are used for propagation of this species.