Muehlenbeckia complexia or axillaris or nana ?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Dee M., Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    There are two different looking plants being sold in Washington as Muehlenbeckia axillaris. One of them has much smaller leaves and inter nodes. I've tried looking on the Internet but there does seem to be some confusion about this genus. Is there really a Muehlenbeckia axillaris nana? That might be the smaller one. I grew it in my zone 7 garden last year and it overwintered well and grew but it still has the smaller type leaves. I would would like to try the other one too but I would like to know what it is. If it is M. complexia do you think it would be as hardy here? Thank you for helping me clear up this confusion. Edited to add that I looked in a Hortus Third and it looks like the nana name is wrong. I also see there is a M. variens of garden origin that it might be. Do you think it might be that one? I have not seen the large leaf one flower.
     
  2. pierrot

    pierrot Active Member 10 Years

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    This may help you with the identification of your Muelenbeckia

    the first picture is of Muelhenbeckia axillaris from the St. Arnaud range in the south island of New Zealand. small leaves with a wavy margin usually a low growing sprawling shrub at higher alpine elevations

    the second is Muehlenbeckia complexa. the leaves are larger and the distance between the internodes is elongated with respect to M. axilaris. this was from the Waiuru area in the north Island of New Zealand near the central volcanoes.

    It may help to getr a copy of HH Allan's Flora of New Zealand Vol1 which has a description of the genus and species.

    Pierrot
     

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  3. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you for the pictures. The small one is definitely M. axillaris because it is flowering with the 1-2 flowers in the axils or at the tip like it is supposed to and the picture is right. I also found two on the Proven Winners website and they give them no species name at all, this is in addition to the two plants from different growers I mentioned earlier. Proven Winners call them Creeping Wire Vine, Muehlenbeckia, hardy to -35 degrees F, and 'Big Leaf' Wire Vine, Muehlenbeckia, hardy to 10 degrees F. What is strange is that every thing else is the same, even the pictures are the same. I am leaning toward M. variens, even though Hortus said it might be a kind of M. complexa. Too bad it probably won't be as hardy. It is a great plant and any more information would be greatly appreciated.
     
  4. pierrot

    pierrot Active Member 10 Years

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    Dee

    here is the description from the flora of North America for

    1. Muehlenbeckia complexa (A. Cunningham) Meisner, Pl. Vasc. Gen. 2: 227. 1841.
    Maidenhair vine, lacy wirevine
    SYN Polygonum complexum A. Cunningham, Ann. Nat. Hist. 1: 455. 1838

    Plants (0.5-)1-5 m. Stems pros-trate to scandent, especially dis-tally, sometimes rooting at nodes, striate, branched, glabrescent or puberulent, distal branches brownish-puberulent. Leaves: ocrea deciduous, brownish hyaline, cylindric, 2-3 mm, margins truncate, eciliate, faces puberulent along veins; petiole 3-10 mm, brownish-puberulent; blade ovate-oblong to suborbiculate or panduriform, 0.5-2.5(-4) × 0.5-2.5(-4) cm, coriaceous, base truncate, margins entire, glabrous or scabrous, apex rounded to apiculate, glabrous adaxially and abaxially, or puberulent abaxially along midvein, obscurely punctuate abaxially. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, 5-30 mm. Pedicels ascending to spreading, 1.5-2 mm. Flowers 1-2(-5) per ocreate fascicle; perianth yellowish green or greenish; tepals connate ca. 1/ 4 their length, lanceolate-ovate to obovate, 2-4 mm, apex rounded to acute. Staminate flowers: anthers pink to purple, ovate to elliptic. Pistillate flowers: tube white in fruit. Achenes exserted or included, black or dark brown, 3-gonous, 3-4 × 2-3 mm, shiny, smooth. 2n = 20 (New Zealand).

    Flowering Jul-Sep. Sunny, disturbed sites, often in urban areas; 0-500 m; introduced; Calif.; Pacific Islands (New Zealand).

    Muehlenbeckia complexa is cultivated as an ornamental and escapes rarely in the flora area.

    I have seen a number of plants referred to as M. complexa and as wire vine in gardencentres in the Vancouver area. From my childhood in New Zealand I doubt that minus 35 F was ever something achieved in the alps of NZ. Usually I have seen this growing at snowline and just below freezing (about minus 2-5C)

    The description above miminc that given in the Flora of New Zealand. I would trat the plant as a tender perennial. It does well here in vancouver in Zone 7-8 so unless you are inland in WA state a warm sheltered area with good drainage would be ideal

    Pierrot
     
  5. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, I think the larger leaf one must be M. complexa. There is no information on the M. variens that Hortus Third mentions so that name must not be in use anymore. M. complexa does sound like it varies a lot from the descriptions I've read. It is also more deciduous and less hardy, which is too bad. I will try one outside anyway and see how it goes, but maybe it a slightly more protected spot.
     

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