Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bouvardia longiflora humboldtii

Bouvardia longiflora humboldtii (Rubiaceae)
Sweet Bouvardia (Mexico)
The BBC series World's Most Dangerous Roads which aired here on SBS was quite a good armchair adventure. Though last nights 'team' of Ben Fogel and Hugh Dennis looked as if they could barely stand to be in each others company on their journey through Peru. What was interesting to see was the German settlement deep in the Amazon jungle dedicated to the great naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt. Humboldt travelled through Latin America between 1799-1804. He spent time in Mexico and this sweetly perfumed flower, which is related to the Gardenia, was named after him.
I grow mine in a pot as it is not a particularly robust plant. It is a small shrub with lax stems  weighed down by the terminal clusters of pure white flowers. The flowers are a popular addition to wedding bouquets. It flowers all summer and is semi deciduous or completely deciduous over winter. Like most plants from Mexico, it is tolerant of dry periods and in my case this usually means it has missed out on watering and has forgiven me and just kept on flowering after a brief sulk and flower drop.I took cuttings over summer and wait to see how many have taken.
Alexander Von Humboldt (1769-1859)
Portrait from 1843 by Joseph Karl Stieler

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