U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Monday, December 28, 2009

One of December's Prettiest Colors

Do you think I love turquoise? Yes? No? Let's look at this collage.

What do you think now? I didn't include pictures of my swimsuit, laundry room countertop, scarfs and towels in the collage, but believe me, they would blend into it perfectly. Yes, I love turquoise! Who doesn't?

I already love the name itself. It is apparently related to the fact that it was brought to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders, more commonly known as Turks. It has been used as a valuable ornament for ages and was used by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. The range of turquoise colors varies from green and greenish blue to sky blue shades.

Turquoise is one of the official birth stones for the month of December as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. (Alternate Birthstones of Sagittarius the Archer (Zodiac sign for November 22- December 21, ) are: Topaz, Beryl, Blue Topaz, Blue Zircon, Rubies, Lapis Lazuli and Citrine).
It is also the wedding anniversary gemstone for the 5th and 11th year of marriage.
The properties with which Turquoise, the birthstone of the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius, are claimed to be associated are as follows:
Prosperity, success, happiness and good fortune, open communication, protection against all diseases, regeneration, and strengthening.
The healing properties of turquoise are reputed to be effective for the throat, lungs, asthma, teeth, depression and infections.

These are all interesting facts, but they were not the reasons for this post. I wanted to share with you the pictures of a beautiful plant. I took them last summer on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. This vine was hanging from nowhere. I stopped in amusement when I bumped into it.

It looked almost unreal, like nothing I would expect to see even in an exotic land. The size and shape were impressive, but most of all it was the color that stunned me. What a spectacular show it was!
It reminded me of one of my favorite chimes back home.

As I learned later, the plant was a STRONGYLODON MACROBOTRYS, Jade Vine. Other names: Turquoise Jade Vine, Blue Jade Vine.
Specimen vine, it belongs to a Fabaceae Family and originates from the Philippines.
Size: 30- 50 feet.
Light Requirements: full to partial sun.
Water requirements : average.
Minimum temperature is in low 30's. Cannot stand frost or drought. Grows best in Zones 10-11.
They say it blooms during winter and spring. My pictures were taken in August.

The flowers have a beautiful seagreen/turquoise color that is considered to be the rarest in the flower world. The bloom is a pendant, clustered birds beak like inflorescence up to 4 1/2 ft. long. Spectacular show! The flowers are often used in Lei making.
The young leaves have a very dark, almost black color, then the leaf turns pale green with dark veins which looks like chlorosis, but it is not. As the leaf matures, it turns deep green.

They say it can be grown indoors! Who is brave enough to try?

They also say, although this vigorous grower can reach 30-50 feet tall once established, it is perfect for a pergola where the blooming clusters can hang down.



Since I touched upon a Hawaiian theme, I want to show you, as I promised in August, what I brought from our last trip. I brought a lot, although I could hold it all in one hand. I brought a part of Hawaiian culture, Hawaiian flora and most importantly - I brought friendship. While in Kauai, I met some wonderful people, Amelia U. and her daughter. With the help of all the members of their family, they make Hawaiian Kapa Cloth. Pounded Wauke tree bark is used as a base. Tapioca starch serves as a glue. Hibiscus flowers and roots, together with Kukui Nuts, are used for creating a dye.

These are two pieces of Hawaiian Kapa Cloth. This first one, I bought as a wedding gift for my friends who were engaged in Hawaii. Thus, it had a special meaning for them.

The piece below I bought for us.

The red color of the cloth comes from Kauai's signature vibrant red dirt. You can see it on the next picture:

What causes Kauai’s dirt to have such a red color? Kauai is 5 million years old. It's enough time for the high iron content of its volcanic soils to oxidize, especially with the wet conditions of the island (one of the wettest spots on earth is in Kauai, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches (1,170 sm).

I treasure this piece as well as a simple lovely friendship bracelet which Amelia gave me. Meeting local people who keep traditions of the islands alive was the the highlight of my trip. Thank you Amelia. Happy New Year to you and your wonderful hardworking family!

Copyright 2009 TatyanaS


  1. Beautiful shades of turquoise. What an interesting plant. It is beautiful.

  2. Wow, Tatyana, that jade vine find is unbelievable! As you say, it doesn't look like it could be of this earth, more like something a bad florist would try to create with dye. But, knowing that it's the plant's true color - spectacular. How nice that you met some island folks during your trip, that always makes a visit more special. The cloth is wonderful and will always remind you of those friends and their beautiful island home. Happy New Year!

  3. Wow, it is just gorgeous Tatyana. I am afraid the poor thing would not make it in my house. If it grows that big it would take my whole house ;-) I would love to see the islands but I have not found a way to drive, walk or swim there. If I cannot see land I do not go LOL.
    Wishing you friend, a New Year filled with love, good health, family, friends many flowers and great memories.

  4. Super-Beautiful post! wow! I love turquoise very much..especially because it is a color that enhances expression and creativity..and it is so uplifting! I love the chimes....those are awesome..simply gorgeous! Beautiful photos and collages..and stunning flowers!! Great post T! Ahhh, I feel resfreshed now!

  5. Yup looks like turquoise is your favorite color. That plant is stunning - I don't remember ever seeing any turquoise flowers now that you mentioned it. Very nice!

  6. Beautiful photographs, Tatyana. The flowers of the Jade vine are so unique, and what rich vibrant color. I have never seen anything quite like it. This would be amazing to try and grow indoors, although not in my sunlight-deprived house!! Are you going to give it a try?

  7. I love turquoise too! I have a few things, antiques, that are turquoise. I'm a December baby!

  8. The jade vine is spectacular! I've never seen anything like this before. It seems only fitting that you would find such a rare plant in Hawaii. I love turquoise, too. It seems every time I buy a new blouse or sweater, I always gravitate to fuschia or turqoise--both are great for brightening up your wardrobe!

    Wishing you a very happy New Year, Tatyana!

  9. Wow, what an amazing flower! I can't believe it! This is out there with living rocks, and insect eating plants.

  10. It sure is nice to see all that green and turquoise on such a cold day here. Have a great New Year.

  11. Beautiful shots. I love turquiose too & wear it almost every day.... Would love to have more of it in the garden, what a gorgeous vine!

  12. One of my favourite colours too Tatyana especially for earrings. What special memories you must have of your holiday. I hope that you able to return again soon too see such a wonderful flower and meet your friend again.

  13. Thank you ladies! It looks like we are ready to start a Turquoise Earrings Lovers' Club!
    No, I don't think I'll try to grow a Jade vine inside. Not many sunny places in the house + dry heated air.

  14. Beautiful vine and a very informative post. I love those wind chimes.

  15. I love the jade vine. Turquoise stones are my favorites but I have never seen a turquoise flower. Of course all the loveliest blooms are not hardy in my area of the country.

  16. Hi Tatyana,

    What an amazing color for a flower! It almost doesn't look real. I think you mentioned visiting our area in August. If you get a chance, you should visit Sedona....beautiful red mountains and many galleries full of turquoise jewelry ;0)

  17. Tatyana, I love the blue-greens, but I never expected to see flowers that color. Wow! -Jean

  18. I also love turquoise. That's a really cool plant. If I wasn't such a houseplant killer, I'd consider trying it.

  19. Blue-green, gray-green, turquoise, jade green - I love all of these shades, and your collection is speaking to me! That vine is amazing; I have never seen anything like it.

  20. Beautiful plant ... & it survives the PNW outdoors? I think you like turquoise .. chuckle!

    Happy New Year! May your year be full of joy & blessings ~ TTFN~ Marydon

  21. Hi Tatyana,

    Turquoise is my favorite color also, my house is full of it, as is my jewelry box. I love native american silver and turquoise jewelry, and many of my garden pots are that color. Turquoise is the color of luck and blessings. There is a book called "The Anthology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky" that you might like!

    Question - you say that vine can be grown indoors, do you know where I could find one? Kathy

  22. Tatyana, that jade vine is a phenomenal specimen!

    I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas, and we wish you a New Year filled with good health and much joy! It has been a remarkable year, and you have added to that. Thank you.

  23. Turquoise is definitely a hot decorating color right now!

    That is an interesting vine, the color is amazing!

  24. That plant is gorgeous. I have never seen anything quite like it. Turquoise (or aqua) and red are my favorite colors so I especially love that plant. Too bad it can't grow in upstate NY. I enjoyed learning about it. Thanks so much

  25. Thank you everyone! I'm glad you love this vine!
    Kathy, they have it here: for $24.95. There might be other sources.

  26. Turquoise reminds me of my secondary school uniform, shaped like a pinafore. Some people also argue that it is blue or green. This is the first time I see a turquiose flower. Thank you for all your beautiful pictures that I enjoyed looking. Hawaii is indeed a great place to visit. Happy New Year 2010, Tatyana!

  27. Turquoise stirs a lot of memories for me. My mother's family is from the southwest. Every time mother would go to visit, she would bring back some turquoise jewelry for me and my sisters. Seeing turquoise jewelry today brings a smile to my face...thanks mom!

    Christine in Alaska

  28. Hi, what an interesting plant you've found there! Sorry to say that I'm not a lover of turkuoise =) But I do have some summerclothes that have that colour. I looks nice on me when I'm it bit tanned. Otherwise I'm all into the darker red colours (you've seen my greenhouse) I also like to see and learn about traditions when I travel and of course making new friends are great!
    Happy New Year to you and your family / gittan

  29. I am coveting this vine now. I would certainly grow it in my greenhouse, don't know about having it in the house.

    Great Post, Tatyana! You should be easy to shop for, with your love of Turquoise!

  30. Interesting plant hanging that way...

  31. I am so glad you took a close up of the blooms on that vine! What a stunning color and so unusual. The cloth you bought is very pretty. I see why it is red!!

  32. Yep, my birthstone! Very unique plant here, thanks for sharing it and the cloth is gorgeous!

  33. We also were lucky enough to see the jade vine in bloom. So unusual!

  34. What a feast of delightful things, Tatyana.

    I was thinking I'd like to grow the wonderful Jade Vine until you said how tall it grows. Not that the inside of my house much resembles Hawaii.

    I like your Turqouise bench and bells. (Other things too but these struck me specially.)

    Best wishes for 2010.


  35. What an amazing vine! It does look so much like your windchimes. Great post, I also love the colour turquoise and agree the name is beautiful. :) Rebecca

  36. I have never seen anything like that vine! The flowers are just amazing. I haven't seen a flower that even comes close to that vine in color before. So beautiful and unique!

    460 inches of rain a year -- that's about *ten times* as much as our average annual rainfall.

  37. I love Turquoise too, especially in plants. The collage you put together is breathtaking.

  38. That color is incredible! I would have been sure that it was fake, which just shows one should never be too sure.

    Great post!

  39. OH! What a lovely post!! Turquoise is my all time favorite color! I cannot imagine how beautiful this Jade Vine must be in person. Thank you for introducing me to a new plant! I love your wind chime too! Lovely turquoise beads and bells! The cloth and landscape are stunning too Tatyana! Best Wishes for the New Year! Carol

  40. What a beautiful color for blooms. We went to Kauai a couple of years ago and had a great time. I think I need to go back! :)

  41. Tatyana, Thanks for solving a small mystery for me. I've admired that vine in our local conservatory on many visits, and can now give it a name (though I'm much more likely to remember "jade vine" than the botanical name). How beautiful it is.

    I'll join the turquoise earrings club, though my favourite bit of the gem is a brooch that our mum bought in a Paris fleamarket when she was in her 20s.

  42. Hi Tatyana, i am amused again here, thank you! At the beginning i am thinking of giving some tips that it is endemic to the Philippines, but later on i realized you are just building our enthusiasm, the photojournalist indeed! Your source is amusing also, to tell you it can be grown indoors as it loves full sun with corresponding temperatures. Also it grows wild with those vigorous vines, so you must have a big big mansion to contain its trellises! Moreover, your source said it blooms in Winter and spring, but how can it be possible when it says it cannot stand frost! Maybe it means it blooms at winter or springtime but in other parts of the world without the 4 seasons. That is what i think, lol.

    On a more serious note, Hawaii has lots of Filipinos so they bring the jade vine there together with Moringa which is commonly found in their yards. This is one thing i noticed with their homes in Hawaii, the presence of Moringa, which is traditionally used as a vegetable in the Philippines.

    By the way, i am Sagitarian so i love turquoise. Thank you very much.


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