In Sri Lanka, beguiling bloom of cat’s claw vine conceals potential trouble (commentary)

In Sri Lanka, beguiling bloom of cat’s claw vine conceals potential trouble (commentary)

During the middle of March each year, the ornamental cat’s claw vine (Dolichandra unguis-cati) bursts into bloom in Sri Lanka, and this year is no exception. The entire creeper gets covered in pretty golden yellow blooms and becomes a sight to behold. The largest concentration of these vines is found in Peradeniya, in the central district of Kandy, mostly within the premises and the vicinity of the University of Peradeniya. People look forward to this spectacle during the flowering season, as evident from the numerous photographs, social media posts and stories published and even poems that refer to the unparalleled beauty of the flowering vines. Exotic plant species The cat’s claw vine is an exotic species that was introduced to Sri Lanka as an ornamental plant. It is native to tropical America and the Caribbean islands. It is a long trailing creeper or vine that can grow to lengths of even 30 meters (98 feet) which makes it possible to reach the canopies of taller trees. It produces numerous branches that in turn give rise to thin, hanging branches that dangle down from the host like a green cascade. The leaves are comprised of two small leaves, and a third modified into a three-pronged clasping tendril, shaped somewhat like the nails in the paws of a cat, which gives the creeper its name: cat’s claw. The flowers are borne from the nodes of the leaves and are large and have a short tubular corolla that ends in five petals. The…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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