Appreciation: Muehlenbeckia complexa

Discussion in 'How's It Growing?' started by wcutler, Sep 7, 2020.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I mentioned wanting to know the name of this in another thread, thinking it was something really common, and when no-one replied, I decided to post it for ID, but then I actually found it: Muehlenbeckia complexa, wire vine. It's a dense, kind of pillowy ground cover, with sparse leaves on impossibly thin, wiry but not brittle stems. I have seen it in two locations, and until yesterday, was going to say that I had not seen flowers. But today, there are several flowers, around 5mm in diameter, in clusters of mostly three. The leaves are alternate, a little over 1cm long (and across). @pierrot posted a very complete description of it years ago, at Muehlenbeckia complexia or axillaris or nana ?.
    Male and female flowers are on separate plants. This plant is female.
    Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_20200906_125656.jpg Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_20200906_125902.jpg Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_20200907_164156.jpg Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_20200907_164302.jpg Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_v20200906_125805.jpg Muehlenbeckia-complexa_2095BeachAve_Cutler_20200907_164335.jpg
     
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  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Excellent detective work and great photos too. I know I have seen this in the past but would have no idea how to figure out its name. Thanks for your efforts - if I ever see it for sale, I'll pounce.
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I believe this plant is often sold as an indoor plant.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    It's hard to see the appeal in that, though one of the common names is maidenhair vine, because of its similar appearance to a maidenhair fern, which I noticed; I had to keep convincing myself that it's not a fern. If I can see the appeal to those ferns as houseplants, I suppose I should understand the appeal of this. How does symbolic logic go - if the premise is false, the statement is true?
     
  5. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Hey, I found a flower on this plant, the only one on it too.
    Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_20201121_143753.jpg
     
  6. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Right next to the Pittosporum tenuifolium that I posted elsewhere is a Muehlenbeckia, but with leaves with a diameter twice as long as the ones posted above. It otherwise looks the same.
    I should pack this with some common names: From Muehlenbeckia complexa - Wikipedia, "Other names include tororaro (Māori), mattress plant, wiggy-bush,[6] and wire vine.[7] Commonly known as maidenhair vine, creeping wire vine, lacy wire vine, angel vine, mattress vine, mattress wire weed, necklace vine, and wire vine, Muehlenbeckia complexa is an ornamental plant in the family Polygonaceae, which is native to New Zealand".
    Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1675Cypress2nd_Cutler_20210114_134202.jpg Muehlenbeckia-complexa_1675Cypress2nd_Cutler_20210114_134222.jpg
     
  7. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    This is the same plant as I posted originally. I thought there were not flowers yet, but as I kept looking, they kept appearing, mostly all in the same quadrant, but near the bottom.
    Muehlenbeckia complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_20210806_154239.jpg Muehlenbeckia complexa_1995BeachAve_Cutler_20210806_154135.jpg
    I'm really posting this to save the link to a page that has very good images of male and female flowers. I haven't seen male flowers yet, don't know which other locations I've seen are males.
    Muehlenbeckia complexa - The University of Auckland
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2021
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  8. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    At VanDusen today, the only label I found with this Muehlenbeckia said Muehlenbeckia axillaris. This page - Small Leaf - Creeping Wire Vine - Muehlenbeckia axillaris | Proven Winners - seems to indicate that the leaves should be very small. I thought I might be able to confirm that there are two species in this bed, as there are is an area with these tiny leaves, like 3mm long, and another group with leaves more like 10mm, but the database shows the plant with this accession number being in the nursery, so I can't confirm that. Actually, what it shows in the database seems to indicate that maybe there is only one species?
    Muehlenbeckia axillaris
    Muehlenbeckia complexa 'Nana'

    and

    Muehlenbeckia complexa
    Muehlenbeckia axillaris (hort)​

    I think I am showing M. axillaris/ M. complexa 'Nana', with male flowers, which are what I've been unsuccessfully looking for around town, with a little M. complexa, which has female flowers here.
    You can see some leaves here that are clearly larger than the others.
    Muehlenbeckia-axillaris_VanDusenBG_Cutler_20210924_133914.jpg Muehlenbeckia-axillaris_VanDusenBG_Cutler_20210924_134120.jpg
    These are male flowers. The anthers look pink in my photos, but the flowers appeared to have orange centres when I was there looking at them.
    Muehlenbeckia-axillaris_VanDusenBG_Cutler_20210924_133922.jpg Muehlenbeckia-axillaris_VanDusenBG_Cutler_20210924_134018.jpg
    These are female flowers, on the plant with the larger leaves.
    Muehlenbeckia-complexa_VanDusenBG_Cutler_20210924_134225.jpg
     
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