5 responses to “Clianthus puniceus”

  1. Nadia


  2. Wendy Cutler

    Oh, man, I didn’t even notice there was a Fabaceae theme going on. Glad you mentioned it – I went back to read the others and picked up some new comments.

    I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t Hawai’i where I’ve seen this plant, but at a garden in Ireland.

  3. Jean Paulson

    I have a huge vine of Clianthus puniceus (red) covering and hanging through the chicken wire atop my pen. It’s a spectacular sight here in N. California (Humboldt Cty.) It has even artfully arranged itself around the pen door.Though rodents seem to accompany chickens, they’ve left it alone to dazzle all who see it in April/May/June.

  4. Patrick Collins

    We are having a beanfeast for the eyes.

    It looks to me as though the Maori name for Clianthus maximus was extended to both species on entering English usage. The full name was Kowaingutu-kaka (kōwhai-ngutu-kākā?) the Parrot’s Beak Kowhai. Kowhai are the Sophora trees of New Zealand such as Sophora microphylla, with clearly similar bunches of pea-like flowers. Clianthus maximus is a tree up to 6 metres. Seeds sent from New Zealand with the name Kowaingutu-kaka were supposed to be from a large tree.

    https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/239977#page/106/mode/1up (Picture and text)
    https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/44336938#page/592/mode/1up (Picture and text)
    https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/3299859#page/331/mode/1up (Just text)

    You addressed the etymology of Clianthus in the post on Clianthus maximus but, as I have dealt with red colours here before, I must comment on this one.

    The Latin word “puniceus” meant “of Carthage”, like our English word Punic. By extension it also meant the colour red-purple or purplish-red. This was the colour of those dyes for which Carthage was famous and which made a fortune for its processors and traders. Murex shellfish gathered from the coast around present-day Essaouira gave a red colour or a purple depending how it was used. This was the colour of the togas of the Roman Emperors. “Punic” comes from the Phoenicians who originally founded the colony of Carthage. “Phoenix” means “scarlet” in Greek but is probably much older and of uncertain origin. The Phoenicians at Tyre (in present day Lebanon) started their murex purple dye factories long before Carthage using the local shellfish harvested from their coast. Tyre carried on their production in competition with Carthage and, later, Roman Mauretania. Murex are sometimes called purplefish.

  5. Ed Hessler

    How grateful I am for this variation in petal color. The red one looks like a chili.

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