Rare plant in flower at Cannington Walled Gardens (Sept 2012)

The horticultural team at Bridgwater College's Walled Gardens of Cannington have successfully cultivated a rare plant in the tropical zone of the gardens' glasshouse.

The plant, Jade Vine (stronglylodon macrobotry), is normally found in the tropical forests of the Philippines. It is rarely found in cultivation and is threatened in its native habitat due to deforestation.

The specimen was given to the College in 2008 by Kew Gardens, and although pollinated naturally by bats, in a garden setting this is achieved by hand. Its fruits are from the pea and bean family and can grow to the size of a melon!

Although the plant hasn't grown fruit, it has flowered this year, with its hanging stems of jade green flowers and described by Bridgwater College Grounds and Gardens Supervisor, Jayne Alcock as "exceptionally beautiful".

There are not many of these plants in the UK, and even the plant at Kew Gardens only flowers every 2-3 years, so this has been a great success for the horticultural team at the gardens.