Fandango’s Flashback Friday — June, 4

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 4 June 2014


Thunbergia alata

Family: Acanthaceae

Common names: black-eyed susan (Eng.); swartoognooi (Afr.) ; isiPhondo (Zulu)

In much of the warmer world, Thunbergia alata, or black-eyed susan, is well known as a fast-growing, long-flowering, friendly creeper. In South Africa it is a general favourite as it is not fussy about soil, needs only moderate water, doesn’t go rampant, is mostly evergreen and covers ugly places beautifully. It has even been honoured in the standard set of South African postage stamps.



Thunbergia alata is a soft, perennial climber about 1-5 x 1 m with many twining stems. The leaves are heart- or arrow-shaped, softly hairy and sometimes toothed. Many flowers are borne singly in leaf axils with a small calyx enclosed in 2 large, ridged bracts. The corolla is obliquely trumpet-shaped and is usually bright orange in wild plants. The inside of the tube is a striking dark maroon or purplish black. Nurseries also have variants with white, cream- or peach-coloured, yellow to deep orange or nearly red flowers. The fruit is like a bird’s head with a spherical base and a long ‘beak’. This plant flowers all summer but can continue all year in warmer areas.


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