Category: A Select Vietnamese flora

So, here are the final four wonderful pictures taken by my friend Jen over in Vietnam.

First, a plant with a common name of ‘Canonball Tree’ due to its large rounded fruits (and its flower buds also rather resemble Brussel Sprouts!). Couroupita guianensis, as its name suggests, was originally native to South America.

Couroupita guianensis

Couroupita guianensis

Second, one of the range of River Lilies  Crinum. I think this one might be the ‘giant Spider Lily’ Crinum x amabile, which can grow to 6 feet tall in the right conditions.

Crinum x amabile

Crinum x amabile

‘Folded and floating’ is how Jen describes these amazing Lotus flowers…

lotusFinally, this one caused me a lot of searching (including via our postman’s Vietnamese friend!), but I’m pretty sure its the ‘Cockspur Coral Tree’ or Erythrina crista-galli (the latter means ‘cock’s comb’). A native of South America it is also the national tree and flower of Argentina. The picture shows the dramatic terminal raceme of flowers, in this case not yet open.


Erythrina crista-galli

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this mini series; I have certainly found it fascinating trying to track the plants down! Thanks once more to my friend Jen.

Old School Gardener


I’ve surprised myself. I think I’ve managed to track down the six remaining plant pictures my friend Jen sent me from Vietnam. So here’s the next three wonderful pictures in this ‘select flora’…

First the evergreen shrub, Ixora coccinea or the ‘Jungle Geranium’ or ‘Flame of the Woods’.

Ixora coccinea

Ixora coccinea

Second, the national flower of Laos, the Champon flower, or Plumeria rubra. This fragrant relative of Oleander is also known as ‘Frangipani’.

Plumeria rubra

Plumeria rubra

Finally, a rather spiky Euphorbia originally from Madagascar, named after a former Governor of the Island of Reunion  (Baron Milius) who introduced it to France in 1821, Euphorbia milii, or the ‘Crown of Thorns’.

Euphorbia milii

Euphorbia milii

My final three plants in a few days time…

Old School Gardener

Euphorbia milii

Friends Jen and Dave are having a great time in Vietnam, and Jen has been ‘plant spotting’. She’s sent me some exotic specimens to name and this began with a bit of a mystery. The picture below appears to show a sign with some plant names on it in English.

image2Jen assumed this related to the plant picture below, but was puzzled at the (misspelled) reference to Thuinbergia, so I set out to investigate further…


Strongylodon macrobotrys

Jen mentioned that the plant and sign in question were at a monastery in De Lat, which helped me to search online. Here I found a picture of the same plant, but with its correct names of Jade Vine (sometimes also called Tigers’ Teeth); a native of the Philippines, but there are examples in the UK at Cambridge Botanic Garden, Kew and the Eden Project. Interestingly it’s propagated by bats! The botanical name is Strongylodon macrobotrys; and so, not a hint of Thunbergia!

Well, it turns out that another plant nearby (see below), apparently popular in De Lat, is Thunbergia mysorensis (again ‘lost in translation’ on the sign) or its common name of Mysore Trumpet Vine. So, a case of poor sign placement (it looks like its been strapped to a pillar after being in the ground), as well as incorrect botany (incidentally Thunbergia are part of the Acanthaceae family, so that might explain that bit of the sign- but once more, misspelled!).

Thunbergia mysorensis

Thunbergia mysorensis

Another of Jen’s pictures is of the Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior), a plant used in cooking (especially fresh fish).

Etlingera elatior

Etlingera elatior

I’m still working on identifying the other six plants Jen sent me, but will hopefully crack the mystery in the next few days…look out for further episodes of a Select Vietnamese Flora!

Old School Gardener


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