Hoya curtisii

Katherine is responsible for today’s entry:

A big thank you to sandy130@UBC Botanical Garden Forums for today’s image of Hoya curtisii. The accompanying text is from the original 1908 publication of the species in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 74(2): 563. This text was contributed to the Biodiversity Heritage Library by the Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden.

Hoya curtisii is native to the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. Among hoyas, this species has some of the smallest leaves. Hoya curtisii is a relatively slow growing hoya with yellowish-green flowers with red centers. Descriptions of its fragrance range from citrus-like to smelling initially of fresh grass then, with age, more melon-like. Often used as an ornamental plant, particularly in baskets as it does not “climb or twine”, plants of Hoya curtisii are tolerable to some drought, but not complete dryness.

The genus Hoya was named in honour of Thomas Hoy and comprises 200-300 species, which are commonly referred to as waxplants, waxvines, waxflowers, or hoyas. Studies at the University of Georgia found Hoya to be very capable of removing some indoor pollutants. Hoyas also exhibit Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) whereby plants reduce evapotranspiration by closing stomata in their leaves during the day, and collecting CO2 at night.

The book Medicinal Plants of Asia and the Pacific by Wiart (2006) provides insight to the traditional medicinal uses of some hoyas, including Hoya coriacea (used as treatment for asthma), Hoya coronaria (to induce vomiting, traditional use in Indonesia), and Hoya diversifolia (to ease the pain of rheumatism, used in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Malaysia). Methanolic extracts of Hoya diversifolia have also been shown to exhibit antinematodal activity.

Botany and mathematics resource link (added by Daniel): More on Fibonacci series today–a colleague had a question on branching patterns in saguaro cacti and conifers, which led him to find this neat project write-up he shared with me: The Secret of the Fibonacci Sequence in Trees, a Young Naturalist Award winner from the American Museum of Natural History.

Hoya curtisii
Hoya curtisii

9 responses to “Hoya curtisii”

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    I’ll add that The Plant List suggests Hoya curtisii is an unresolved name, which makes me wonder as to whether the Hoya curtisii of the horticultural trade is the same entity as is found in the wild. The extent of mottling (marmoration) of the leaves, one would think, would be mentioned in the original taxonomic description. It’d be interesting to see images of the original (type) specimens and compare them to what’s in the trade.

  2. Claire B., Saskatoon

    I really like Hoyas and have a couple as houseplants. This flower cluster looks a little similar to one I have called Shooting Star.
    Thank you so much for the link to the young man’s experiment on the Fibonacci sequence. What a great and elegant experiment he designed and like all good scientists, he came away with more questions to answer.

  3. nina-rosa

    waxplant, shade beauty, as a cloudy sun-rise

  4. Harry Thomas

    Hoyas are great plants. I always think of them as wax reproductions, as that was what I thought when I first encountered them. Thinking back when I was much younger that nature couldn’t reproduce such a regular looking plant. But as I found out later, there is much in nature that reflects a mathematical regularity. I never stopped to try and figure out why, though, as Aidan did in his endeavors. His thoughts and experiments are wonderful.

  5. phillip

    ..can you imagine a lecture from this 1908 script..?..whoa..slow down Doc..!

  6. elizabeth a airhart

    hoyas do grow here in florida hanging baskets etc
    i think when i was 13 years of age a new shade of lipstick
    was on my mind and at night watching the patterns of the
    tree limbs and leaves makeing moveing patterns against
    the windows and walls when a branch made a noise diveing
    under the covers i did not take frogs apart either- bon jour

  7. Dahlia Balir

    This one reminds me of Milkweed.

  8. michael aman

    Whether it’s a family reunion (humans) or a walk in the wild (plants), I am fascinated looking at similarities among family members. Look at the flower head of hoya and then think of milkweed.

  9. Wendy Cutler

    I think you’re going to have to do a Fibonacci week. Aidan’s writing was as amazing as his discoveries. Thanks for that link.
    And the hoya photo and article were interesting too.

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