Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Chilean bellflower or copihue, is the national flower of Chile. It is a a member of the Chilean-endemic Philesiaceae. Today’s photographs are courtesy of Nhu Nguyen (aka xerantheum@Flickr, who shared them via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (image 1 | image 2). Nhu took these photographs in mid-September several years ago at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Thanks Nhu!
In the wild, Lapageria rosea is a species of the Valdivian temperate rainforest. It is an evergreen climber, attaining a maximum height of about 10m on adjacent trees and shrubs. The Wikipedia page for Lapageria rosea notes an interesting tidbit about the species: “The vines twine counterclockwise in the Southern hemisphere and clockwise when grown in the Northern hemisphere”.
The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley has one of the most comprehensive collections of Lapageria rosea and cultivated selections of the species in North America. The particular plant in today’s photograph is a 1937 accession, grown from wild-collected seed during a 1935-1936 expedition to Chile by T. Harper Goodspeed. There are a number of resources about the Berkeley plants, including: The History of Lapageria rosea at the University of California Botanical Garden via Pacific Horticulture; a description of some the cultivars grown at Berkeley, and accompanying photographs of the cultivars.
I’ve yet to visit Berkeley in the autumn, so my sole and memorable encounter with this Award of Garden Merit taxon is a glasshouse-grown plant cultivated by one of UBC’s Friends of the Garden and occasional BPotD contributor, Ian Gillam.