The Chilean bellflower is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful flowering vines in the world, so much so that it has been chosen as the national flower of Chile. It is native to the forests of southern Chile, namely the Valdivian temperate rain forest. Lapageria rosea is the only species within the genus Lapageria.
Lapageria rosea is an evergreen climbing plant that can reach over 10 metres in hight. Strangely, the vines twine counter-clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and clockwise when grown in the Northern hemisphere. This may be due to the perceived change in travel of the Sun.
The large, rose-crimson flowers have six thick, waxy tepals which are red, and faintly spotted with small white blotches. The flowers are most frequently produced in late summer and autumn, although they can be produced at other times of the year depending on the climate.
The fruit is an elongated berry with a tough skin containing numerous small seeds about the size of a tomato seed each seed is covered in an edible fleshy coating known as an aril.
In the wild the plant is pollinated by hummingbirds.
The Chilean bellflower gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
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The Chilean bellflower - lapageria rosea
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