April 19, 2014

What's Blooming Now

The humid climate of Southwest Florida is perfect for allamanda (allamanda cathartica), sometimes known as the golden trumpet. Its funnel-like yellow blossoms can be more than four inches across, and they grow in profusion amidst shiny dark green, leathery leaves. Naturally a woody vine found along the waterways of northeastern South America, the plants were named for Dr. Frederic-Louis Allamand, and the year-round beauty of the flowers made allamanda a favored landscape plant in tropical areas around the world.

Allamanda is fast growing, can take full sun or some shade and is easily grown from cuttings. Tolerant of wind and drought conditions, allamanda does well in Gulf Coast landscapes as a woody vine or pruned as a hedge.

Allamanda has been used to treat snakebites and malaria, although its effectiveness is unproven. Flowers are sometimes eaten as a laxative, but all parts of allamanda should be considered poisonous to eat and can also cause a rash. Pharmaceutical companies are studying allamanda's anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties.

-Jerome A. Jackson, Florida Gulf Coast University

 

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