Petrea is a genus of evergreen flowering vines native to Mexico and Central America. They have rough-textured leaves, hence the common name sandpaper vine. Carolus Linnaeus named Petrea in honour of Robert James Petre, 8th Baron Petre of Ingatestone Hall in Essex. Petre was a patron of botany. It is included in the family Verbenaceae.
Petrea volubilis or 'Purple Wreath' is an ideal substitute for Wisteria in the tropics and subtropics, Petrea volubilis is regarded as the best blue flowering climber for the climate. Actual flowers are small, blue blossoms surrounded by large, blue sepals. After the flower dies the sepals retain their colour for many weeks, slowly fading before falling off the vine. Leaves are rough with a sandpaper-like texture, and may be semi-deciduous during cold winter periods in cooler districts.
Native to Central America (Mexico to Panama) and the West Indies, Petrea belongs to a genus that includes a range of climbers, trees and shrubs. Although suited to the Tropics, they can do quite well in most parts of Australia so long as they are protected from frost. Choose a warm and sheltered position with free draining soil, rich in organic matter. You will need something for the Petrea to climb up, such as a trellis or pergola. Help the plant climb when its young by carefully training it up and along its support structure. Once established, a light prune after flowering is all that is necessary to keep your Petrea neat and healthy.
This specimen is growing in Melbourne's Botanic Gardens and in bloom right now!
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.