kids encyclopedia robot

Snake vine facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Snake vine
Hibbertia scandens orig.jpg
Hscandens27903084978 9d5918bd56 o.jpg
Fruit, Palm Beach, NSW
Scientific classification
Genus:
Hibbertia
Species:
scandens
HibbertiascandensAVH.png
Collection data for H. scandens from the Australasian Virtual Herbarium

Hibbertia scandens, the snake vine, climbing guinea flower, golden guinea vine or gold guinea plant, is a species of flowering plant in the family Dilleniaceae, native to Australia but widely cultivated. Growing to 4 m (13 ft) in length, it is a climbing or sprawling evergreen shrub with glossy leaves and solitary, bright yellow flowers.

Description

The yellow flowers have been reported as having an unpleasant odour variously described as similar to mothballs or animal urine or sweet but with "a pronounced faecal element". The leaves are elliptic or obovate and average 6 cm in length. The fruits consist of segments of bright orange flesh, each surrounding a black seed. While the flesh looks attractive enough to eat, it is best not to. A minute or so after eating, the flesh produces an unpleasant burning sensation in the mouth and lips.

Near the sea plants tend to be densely hairy with spathulate leaves and flowers with 6 or 7 carpels, while inland, the plants tend to be smoother, with flowers having 3 or 4 carpels.

Taxonomy

The species was first formally described in 1799 by German botanist Carl Willdenow who gave it the name Dillenia scandens. The specific epithet scandens is derived from Latin, and means "to climb". In 1805, Swedish botanist Jonas Dryander transferred the species into the genus Hibbertia.

Distribution

Hibbertia scandens occurs in an area that extends from south-eastern New South Wales upwards to north-east Queensland. Australasian Virtual Herbarium data show records for New Zealand and for New Guinea.

Cultivation

This species is cultivated as an ornamental, and adapts to a wide range of growing conditions. Although it readily grows in semi-shaded areas, it flowers best in full sun. As it is only hardy down to 5 °C (41 °F) it requires winter protection in temperate regions. In the UK it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

kids search engine
Snake vine Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.