Iochroma cyaneum

Today’s entry was assembled by Katherine:

Many thanks to JPierre@UBC Botanical Garden Forums for his pictures of Iochroma cyaneum. The first photograph is via the Botany Photo of the Day Submissions Forum, while the second was received via email.

Iochroma cyaneum, or violet churcu, is native to Ecuador and cultivated elsewhere. Gardeners in similar climates use them as evergreen ornamentals, while in harsher climates people grow plants outdoors in summer and use greenhouses or other structures to overwinter. According to Trade Winds Fruit, Iochroma cyaneum can flower year round, but will typically have more blossoms in the spring and fall. The Subtropical Horticultural Research Station has identified several cultivars of Iochroma cyaneum, with variation in flower colour distinguishing the cultivated varieties. Hummingbirds are known to be major pollinators of Iochroma.

In addition to violet churcu, Iochroma cyaneum is also known commonly as violet churur, blue cestrum and, in Swedish, pipviolbuske.

A relative of Brugmansia, or angel’s trumpet, it shares the angel’s trumpet’s tendencies for toxicity (and, the same should be noted for many species within the Solanaceae or tomato family). All parts of Iochroma cyaneum are considered toxic, to the point where simply handling the plants may cause a reaction. Trade Winds Fruit notes that Iochroma cyaneum was traditionally used for medicinal purposes, as it is known to contain alkaloids and hallucinogens.

Iochroma cyaneum
Iochroma cyaneum

4 responses to “Iochroma cyaneum”

  1. David Sacks

    Lovely! (And a little scary.) Picture 2 looks like it would make a great model for some Tiffany style art glass.

  2. Eric Hunt

    One of the numerous amazing plants from Ecuador. Here is my favorite shot from Strybing in San Francisco:

  3. elizabeth a a irhart

    fine interesting plant and beauitful picture thank you daniel

  4. michael aman

    Easy to see that this is a close relative of the moonflower (datura) that fills a sunny niche in my garden in August, opens white saucer-sized trumpets at dusk, and fills the air with the scent of water lily. What are the traits of this cousin?

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