Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Callaeum macropterum:
Yellow Orchid Vine

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Form: A twining vine.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen except deciduous at 25°F.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 15-30' long.
Flowers: Yellow, five petals shaped like ping-pong paddles with ruffled edges. No fragrance.
Bloom: Late spring into early summer, then sporadically to fall.
Fruit: A seed pod, 1.5" wide, with greenish papery wings aging to tan. If the seed pod is broken apart when mature, its papery wings resemble butterflies.
Leaves: Green, smooth, 2" long by 1" wide.
Stems: No thorns. It needs a fence or trellis to climb.
Wildlife: Attracts bees and birds.
Toxic / Danger: All parts are toxic.
Origin: Baja California, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: Evergreen in 9b-10. Root hardy in 8b-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Somewhat.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Once or twice a month. It needs weekly watering in the hottest months of the year.
Soil: Well drained, dry, pH 5.6-7.8 (acidic to slightly alkaline). Avoid clay soil.
Mulch: In fall to protect roots.
Prune: After the last freeze, prune to remove winter damage and trim to keep in bounds.
Litter: Low to moderate. Some flower and pod drop.
Propagation: Seed and cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental.

This plant is a member of the Barbados Cherry family (Malpighiaceae), and closely resembles the species Callaeum septentrionale. Specimens sold in nurseries, and the one pictured, may actually be C. septentrionale.

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Callaeum macropterum: Hillyhock - flowers

Callaeum macropterum: Hillyhock - green seed pods

Callaeum macropterum: Hillyhock - ripe seed pods

Callaeum macropterum: Hillyhock vine

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Latest update: January, 2022