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An unusual Thai climber

April 18, 2012

‘Sweet dreams’ or Tetracera indica (Dilleniaceae) is not well known outside Southeast Asia. It is a climber native to central and southern Thailand. It currently displays its sweetly fragrant and white blossom at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai (Thailand). Like with so many other vines you should select a shady place to plant it, and allow the vines to grow out in full sun. The first year it may seem stunted, but there is a lot of action underground, and already during the second year you may admire massive blossom after the first heavy rains. Since it is partly deciduous as an adaptation to the dry season it may not look spectacular in late March, but do not despair.

The strength of the fragrance might be overwhelming so I should not plant it near a house, but use it as a surprise out in the garden. Our honeybees like it very much and judging from their legs this is a pollen source for bee larvae.

Members of the Dilleniaceae family usually have serrated leaves and white or yellow flowers with many stamens. The scientific name Dillenia was coined by the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus (1707-1778) in honour of the German botanist Dillenius (1687-1747).

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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