Petrea volubilis

Another thank you directed toward retired UBC Botanical Garden staff member David Tarrant for sharing some of his photographs from Mexico. Today, the species is Petrea volubilis. David writes: “Petrea volubilis is a woody vine species native to Mexico and Central America. Its tough ovate leaves feel like sandpaper, hence one of its common names: sandpaper vine! The flowers are exquisite, borne on arching pendant racemes with equally showy bracts. The bracts last a little longer than the actual flowers, making for a showy garden plant”.

Petrea volubilis is also know by other common names including queen’s wreath and purple wreath. David noted its native range, but it is widely cultivated in tropical regions for outdoor ornamental use or temperate regions with overwintering indoors.

The genus is named in honour of Robert Petre, 8th Baron Petre, a noted horticulturist and botanist. Surprisingly, the name Petrea was suggested in 1732 or 1733, when Petre was only twenty years old (a specimen was first collected for Western science in 1732 by William Houston, who suggested the name). Linnaeus continued to use the name and formally applied it in his 1753 Species Plantarum, designating Petrea volubilis as the type specimen. Linnaeus also notes of Petrea volubilis: “…variolis correptus, longiori vita dignissimus, utpote qui Florae indicae domicilia exstruxit in Europa omnium splendissima. Perhaps someone with better Latin comprehension can interpret, but I muddle through this as “crooked vine, worthy of more cultivation, since it is always splendid when flowering in European greenhouses”. I’d very much welcome correction, but don’t bother using Google Translate, which isn’t quite there yet with its Latin (“smallpox corrected a life worthy of the homes built in Europe, the splendid as that of Flora of India”).

Petrea volubilis
Petrea volubilis

13 responses to “Petrea volubilis”

  1. Nadia

    I love posts with beautiful flowers

  2. James Singer

    Queen’s Wreath. One of my favorite ornamentals.

  3. Elizabeth Revell

    I adore the flowers – what a glorious display of such a pure blue!
    Also I adore the Google Latin translation! I’ve had some beauties from my Japanese Facebook friend, too …I’d love to know how Google translate English into the other languages.

  4. Anne Kivari

    David this is stunning and thank you!

  5. J M Hurst

    Thank you, David. Another example of a beautiful flower in our favourite colour.

  6. arlee

    O.M.G. that is Stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Cauleen

    Hi David
    I am enjoying these photos and wonder if there is a chance the growing zone could be included. Thanks again.

  8. Lindsay

    Wow, absolutely stunning. I love learning about all these different plants, especially ones that can grow in tropical areas. I am going to be checking with some local nurseries here in Hawaii to see if any of them carry this plant. I would love to have this cascading over my fence. Thank you so much for the Botany Photo of the Day, I always look forward to receiving my next one to see what treasures will be contained inside.

  9. Nancy G

    I am a “snow bird” spending the winter in Florida. On the gulf side (Sarasota area) the petrea is in full bloom though out the city right now. It is even more beautiful in person. Thank you so much for showing this beauty.

  10. Ian S

    Loved the photos. Laughed out loud upon reading Google translation. Obviously, some more work needs to be done, Larry Page.

  11. Nancy Arita

    Hi I planted 6 seed of these plant that already germinated the plants are around 1 or 2″ my problem is that I don’t know how to take care of them what kind of fertilizer should I use I’m so fraid that my plants can die if somebody have more information I would be really appreciate it!

  12. Malinda

    This is definitely a beauty. Can this vine survive in our BC climate?

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