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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Visit to Vanya Taulealo's Art Gallery and Garden

Caribbean Agave, Agave angustifolia "Marginata"
Last week I visited Vanya Taulealo's Art Gallery and she also kindly showed me around her large, well tended and beautiful garden which included an area with various native trees (which unfortunately I was unfamiliar with).

One section of the garden was devoted to an assortment of Bromelias. There was also a Cinnamon tree which was in flower and even has one ripe berry. This was fortuitous as I had not yet obtained any photographs of the flowers or fruit of a Cinnamon tree.

Flowers of the Cinnamon tree, Cinnamomum verum

Ripe fruit of Cinnamon tree, Cinnamomum verum

Pink Torch Ginger, Etlingera elatior
There was also a Pink Torch Ginger which means that the ones I have are actually Red rather than pink or maybe something between Red and Pink since I still think mine are more pinkish than red. There were also some Red Torch Gingers which unfortunately were not in flower as I would have liked to see if they were the same colour as the ones I have so that I could resolve the colour issue.

Rhododendron zoelleri
The plant in the photo above is one I have been seeing around a bit recently and I think I may have acquired one recently but I cannot find the name.

Like most gardens in the Pacific Vanya also had a variety of Hibiscuses. The one above is of one of the double ruffled variety. Below is another variety which has large firm petals.

When I saw the shrub below I was not sure but suspected that it might be closely related to   Duranta erecta. I was not sure because the flowers look quite different from the ones I have although I must admit that that is in relation to the colour only but when I saw a few orange berries I was sure it was related. Then after I did some research I was surprised to find that it was most probably a cultivar of Duranta erecta rather than a separate species in the Duranta genus.
Vanya Taulealo's Skyflower, Duranta erecta "Sapphire Showers"
Duranta erecta is also known as Golden Dewdrop and Pigeon Berry (after the strings of orange berries) as well as Skyflower (no doubt after the blue flowers). In Mexico it is known by native Nahuatl name  Xcambocoché. I have not heard it referred to as anything other than Duranta in Samoa aside from a descriptive explanation related to its orange berries or spikey branches which make it sought out for as a hedge plant. However, in Tonga it goes by the colourful and evocative name of mavaetangi (tears of departure).

Among its cultivars are 'Alba', 'Aurea', 'Aussie Gold', 'Gold Mound', 'Geisha Girl', 'Sapphire Showers', and 'Variegata'. I think that the variety that Vanya has is "Sapphire Showers".

Showy Asian Grapes, Medinilla speciosa
Another delightful surprise was Medinilla speciosa or Showy Asian Grapes which despite the flower being in its final stages is always a welcome find. Unfortunately the cutting I got from Samoana Nursery (where Vanya said she got hers too) did not take.

Additional Information:

Binomial Name: Agave angustiflora
Common names: Caribbean Agave(English); choka baïonnette (French - Réunion).
Taxonomy: Order: Asparagales – Family: Asparagaceae – Subfamily: Agavoideae – Genus: Agave – Species: Agave angustifolia

Binomial Name: Cinnamomum verum
Common names: True Cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, Sri Lanka cinnamon (English); cannelier, cannelier de Ceylan (French); árbol de la canela (Spanish); cannella, cinnamomo (Italian); Ceylon-Zimtbaum, Echter Zimtbaum (German); Kulit kayu manis (Bahasa Indonesian); Tinamoni (Samoan)
Taxonomy: Order: Laurales – Family Lauraceae – Genus: Cinnamomum – Species: Cinnamomum vera

Binomial Name: Etlingera elatior
Common names: Torch Ginger, Ginger Flower, Red Ginger Lily, Torch Lily, Wild Ginger, Combrang, Bunga Kantan, Philippine Wax Flower, Xiang Bao Jiaing, Indonesian Tall Ginger (English); Boca de Dragón, Rose de Porcelaine (French); bastón de emperador  (Spanish); Rosa-de-porcelana (Portugese);  Kecombrang, kantan, honje (Bahasa Indonesian)
Taxonomy: Order:Zingiberales – Family Gingiberaceae– Genus: Etlingera– Species: Etlingera elatior 

Binomial Name: Rhododendron zoelleri
Common names: Rhododendron zoelleri (English) Name (Language)
Taxonomy: Order: Ericales – Family: Ericaceae – Genus: Rhododendron - Species: Rhododendron zoelleri

Binomial Name: Duranta erecta
Common names: Golden Dewdrop, Pigeon Berry, Skyflower (English); Mavaetangi (Tongan); vanillier de Cayenne (French); Xcambocoché (Nahuatl); Sinyo nakal (Bahasa Indonesian)
Taxonomy: Order: Lamiales – Family: Verbenaceae – Genus: Duranta – Duranta erecta

Binomial Name: Medinilla speciosa
Common names: Showy Asian Grapes  (English) Name (Language)
Taxonomy: Order: Myrtales – Family: Melastomataceae – Genus: Medinilla – Species: Medinilla speciosa


Isabelle from New Caledonia: Identification of Rhododendron zoelleri.

Nynette Sass: Identifying the Agave angustifolia (Caribbean Agave) as being a Sisal type plant and speeding up it's identification.

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Here is a list of my current blogs:

·         Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters)

·         The Blood of  Souls (language, translation and etymology)

·         Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general)





  1. Bonjour and thank you to show us Vanya's garden
    The orange flower you don ' t know looks like a
    Rhododendron zoelleri, from New Guinea but maybe i'm wrong
    Merci Isabelle from New Caledonia

    1. Merci Isabelle de Nouvelle Calédonie pour votre message et sur tout pour l’information sur la plante avec les fleurs orange. Je pense que vous avez bien raison que c’est une Rhododendron zoelleri, qui viens de Nouvelle Guinée.

  2. Thanks Vincent for the beautiful photos of Vanya.s garden, love the red hibiscus and great to see a pix of the Cinnamon flower. I use Cinnamon a lot with my oatmeal. What is the Samoan word for Cinnamon? Wonder if it is Akoge. ...enjoy looking at all the pixs. Fa'afetai lava..Rosalina Sapolu from California.

  3. Fa'afetai lava Vincent, the beautiful red ruffled hibiscus was my joy as a youngster 6 to 8yrs old to pick for my aunty Alo'alo in Sapapali'i back in the fifties... She wud order me to pick 4 to pige sulu onto her fa'apaku of the same colour n wud send me back if I mixed up her colours with orange, pink n yellow, LEAI GA'O LE AUKE MU-MU OU KE MAGA'I IAI ...R I P aunty Alo'alo it was an honour to serve u with your bright colour preference... I sneaked in a white ruffled hibiscus from Tonga but did not grow *sad*... Tasi le pati ma le po 4ur efforts n study, Alofa tele mai Utah/Ko Netzler.

  4. Hi Rosalina I think that teh Samoan word for Cinnamon is tinamoni