Family: Papilionaceae

These 90 species of tropical trees, shrubs, Iianes and climbers, mostly from Africa and Asia, include three Australian species, among them the lovely native wisteria, M. megasperma. In climates which are prone to frost, grow in a cool to intermediate conservatory or greenhouse.


Not all of these are available outside their countries of origin.

M. caffra, from South Africa, is a tree growing to 9 m (30 ft), with silky, hairy leaves and trusses of purplish to reddish, pea flowers.

M. megasperma, native wisteria, is a vigorous climber, similar to wisteria, producing sprays of mauve to dark purple, pea flowers in the spring, followed by large, cylindrical pods, up to 15 cm (6 in) in length, containing red seeds.

M. ovalifolia, from Burma, is a small tree to 5 m (16 ft), with shiny leaves and purple or blue flowers.


In the greenhouse or conservatory, grow in a pot of soil-based potting compost. Ensure maximum light, but shade the plant from direct strong sun. If necessary, prune after flowering to restrict size. Outdoors grow in a sunny spot with rich, moist, well-drained soil. Propagate from semi-ripe cuttings in summer, or from seed when available, both in warmth.


Zone 10.

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Microsorum      Miltonia