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Mystery plants: Thunbergia, pickerel weed and erythrina

by Janet Carson | August 29, 2021 at 9:49 p.m.

Thunbergia alata, commonly called Black-eyed Susan vine or Clock vine is an annual vine that can bloom and add color all summer long. The original color is an orange flower with a black eye,

but newer varieties come in shades of yellow and apricot. Native to South Africa, it can grow up to 8 feet tall in one season. The more sun the better.

It does well as a vine with a trellis to grow on, or as a hanging basket.

Pickerel weed - Pontederia cordata

is a perennial native aquatic plant that can spread aggressively in water gardens or shorelines. The spikes of purple blooms grow from early summer through fall

and are attractive to bees and butterfies.

Erythrina crista-galli, commonly called coral berry or cockspur tree

is a perennial plant in the pea family, native to South America. I have personally seen it in Europe, Central and Southern America as well as North America, including my garden in Little Rock!

The plant dies back to the ground in central Arkansas southwards, but is hardy. The stems have sharp spines on them, and it has compound leaves. Large red spikes of bright red flowers bloom from mid-summer through early fall.


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