Cardiospermum native in Florida?
viceroy at gate.net
Thu Jan 17 17:12:23 EST 2002
John Calhoun wrote:
> I think most botanists believe that Cardiospermum halicacabum is
> exotic, but some obviously disagree. In fact, Richard Wunderlin is
> one of the members of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
> During numerous personal communications with him during the course
> of my research on C. thomasi, he stated his belief that it is an
> exotic plant in Florida, but is becoming less common, thus it is
> less of a problem than formerly. This plant is still available
> from seed supply houses, but I doubt it's a big seller, except to
> those who seek unusual plants for their gardens.
Naturally people planting this would get their seeds from as close as
possible. I would think local butterfly gardeners (and kids) would
harvest the seed and distribute it through the schools. Now is the time.
That would also be the way to hand out Nicker, which has a most
seductive seed. You could paint a little blue butterfly on it and sell
it for a quarter.
Then, when it grew into an enormous vine armed with recurved thorns,
well named the wait-a-bit plant, wouldn't the gardeners be surprised?
Still, there are many places where this is a highly desirable plant.
As to whether Balloon Vine is native or exotic, that is usually
decided -- in a changeable sand spit like Florida -- by whether local
gardeners like it or not. This is a fairly untidy plant, so nobody
fought for it, I guess. If we're going to exile pantropical weeds from
our politically correct Florida gardens, then we'll have to root out
most of our milkweeds (we grow A. curassavica), Spanish needle, blue
porterweed and a bunch of other neat plants, as well as our Pride of
Barbados (C. pulcherrima).
It is definitely a candidate for bondage and discipline, but you could
also send it climbing up a politically incorrect tree.
Probably one shouldn't plant it in other people's yards. As for
persuading children to plant it out, they should have a nice flyer to
give to homeowners, explaining about the butterfly and the vine, and
describing how to groom it.
For subscription and related information about LEPS-L visit:
More information about the Leps-l