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Mussaenda pubescens

Mussaenda pubescens

Today's photo and article come to us from Douglas Justice, Curator of Collections, UBCBG.

This sprawling evergreen shrub or climber is native to southern China. I've photographed a similar species (or perhaps the same one, but with orange flowers) in Washington DC, where it was cultivated as a summer bedding plant. Here, it is a background native plant in the Magnolia Collection at the South China Botanical Garden, in Guangzhou, China. You can also find it in the Medicinal Plants Area, Pu Gang Reserve, which is also part of this fantastic garden. According to the Dictionary of Chinese Traditional Medicine (1986), the plant has been used as a diuretic, antichloristic and antipyretic agent. It has also been employed against laryngopharyngitis, acute gastroenteritis and dysentery, and as a contraceptive.

The expanded, flag-like sepals are reminiscent of those borne on a number of familiar ornamentals, including hydrangeas, but more particularly, Schizophragma hydrangeoides. Such flag-like flower parts—at least the white ones—are adapted to increasing visibility for and hence, visitation by, moths, such as the magnificent Atlas moth, which is native to the same part of the world. The moths effect pollination and find a nectar "reward" at the base of the tubular flowers.

7 Comments

I'll check my Chinese herbal remedies and see if it is listed!!

Very interesting plant.

looks Rubiaceous, is there also a fragrance?

Wow - you had me at pubescens and I'm not even in the Scripps bee.

I always wonder how someone first discovers that a plant has medicinal properties. Loey

thank you for the links
the gardens in china look beautiful
i do wish one could click and open
each image - the moth page is very nice

the plant is handsome - and might need
it if the flu keeps spreading

one of the links yesterday lead me
to the pine barrens of nj
i am in florida but nj is my home state

thank you for all your work and shareing

Hermosa!

In the Malaysian herbal world the common name for Mussaenda pubescens is 'Janda Kaya' or literally translated as 'the Rich Widow.' In Bali, Indonesia, it is called 'Musa Indah' or literally translated, 'the Beautiful Mosses.'

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