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A goblet of gold

October 28, 2010

In Sweden I used to grow a lush Brugmansia x candida (Solanaceae, i.e. tobacco, tomato and potato family) with large snow-white flowers and a powerful fragrance in July and August. I had to cut it down and bring the huge pot indoors (4-12°C) before frost. That was a dear trouble. I  tried to grow it here in the Chiang Mai valley too, but even in the shade it will faint of over-heating. Some nice specimens of this South American plant grow at high altitude in Thailand, but here in the valley we need to look for substitutes. Some people call Brugmansia Datura, but this genus has erect flowers, Brugmansia flowers are hanging.

Although a climber, and a very athletic one, Solandra longiflora of the same family (Solanaceae) is much more suitable for hot monsoon gardens. It has large flowers resembling wine goblets, opening white and turning golden. It emits a nice fragrance at night. Such a climber can grow up to 20 meters, and like the Brugmansia it consumes copious amounts of nutrients.

Solandra is named after Daniel Carlsson Solander (1733-1782) who was a Swedish naturalist. He was employed by Sir Joseph Banks to join Captain Cook’s exploration of the South Pacific on the famous ship Endeavour. Solander studied  at Uppsala University (Sweden) under the supervision of Linnaeus. Uppsala is my hometown, so although Solandra is an exotic beauty, it reminds me of Linnaeus’ garden back home.

The Solandra longiflora is now in blossom at Dokmai Garden.


Solandra longiflora has a gap with ten purple veins .

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