MINA LOBATA - The Spanish Flag

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Mina lobata is a tender, annual climbing plant that is notable for its spectacular combination of flame-crimson, cream and yellow flowers. It gets its common name the 'Spanish Flag' for two reasons. Firstly, the flowers are produced all on one side, like a flag in the wind. Secondly, the predominantly red and white colouring of the Mina lobata flower roughly matches the 'Cross of Burgundy' flag. This was the Spanish military flag from 1506-1701, and also used as the flag for Spanish Overseas Territories.

Spanish colonial flag
Mina lobata is a native to Mexico, Central and South America, so the name 'Spanish Flag' is not just purely down to its colouration but is also a reminder of Spanish colonisation.

It was first described in Flora Brasiliensis by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, a German botanist and explorer.

He travelled through Brazil in search of economically viably plants during the exhibition of 1817-1820.

While the scientific name Mina lobata is the one one most associated with the 'Spanish Flag', it is no longer appropriate, and it has already been superseded twice. First by Quamoclit lobata, and now by its correct scientific name of Ipomoea lobata, which puts it in the 'Morning Glory' family. While it may be scientifically correct, it does not have the typical saucer flower of its close relations.

MINA LOBATA - Spanish Flag flowers
On each spike of flowers the buds emerge in deep fiery orange red and then steadily fade to pale cream. This means that for most of the life of each spike there are flowers in a succession of shades.

Each plant, which will grow between 5 and 8 feet in height, depending on the soil and season. Mina lobata is a prolific flower which is made all the more impressive by the backdrop of dark green, boldly lobed foliage.

There are three forms of 'Spanish Flag' which have gained awards. These include the true species Mina lobata, and its two cultivars ‘Exotic Love’ and ‘Jungle Queen’. All three are very similar but the two cultivars showed an additional feature where the new foliage opens with a purple pigmentation before fading to green. Mina lobata ‘Jungle Queen’ is a little less prolific.

For related articles click onto the following links:
How to Grow Mina lobata - the Spanish Flag
MINA LOBATA - The Spanish Flag

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