Sunday, April 01, 2007

Clock Vine (Thunbergia mysorensis)

Clock Vine
Thunbergia mysorensis
(thun-BER-jee-uh) (my-sor-EN-sis)
Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ay)

Synonyms: Hexacentris mysorensis

I have been admiring this vine at the New York Botanical Garden for several years and during my recent trip it was flowering more than I had ever seen it. Getting a picture has been tough and this is the best I came up with. This native of India grows both in subtropical and tropical regions. This one is of course growing indoors. The flowers are very detailed and are attractive to Hummingbirds. The Clock Vine is in the Acanthaceae family. I have linked to a full-length Encyclopedia Britannica Article, which should be available to non-subscribers too.

There is a new Hardiness Map in town and that is sure to stir up some trouble. Since this is a press release I don’t think that they will mind my posting it in full.

<start copy>
New Hardiness Zone Map Reflects Warmer Climate

Latest hardiness zones, based on most current temperature data available, suggest up-to-date choices for best trees to plant

Nebraska City, Neb. – Much of the United States has been warmer in recent years, and that affects which trees are right for planting.

Based on the latest comprehensive weather station data, The National Arbor Day Foundation has just released a new 2006 Hardiness Zone Map which separates the country into ten different temperature zones to help people select the right trees to plant where they live.

The new map reflects that many areas have become warmer since 1990 when the last USDA hardiness zone map was published. Significant portions of many states have shifted at least one full hardiness zone. Much of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, for example, have shifted from Zone 5 to a warmer Zone 6. Some areas around the country have even warmed two full zones.

In response to requests for up-to-date information, the Arbor Day Foundation developed the new zones based on the most recent 15 years' data available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 5,000 National Climatic Data Center cooperative stations across the United States. Hardiness zones are based on average annual low temperatures using 10 degree increments. For example, the average low temperature in zone 3 is -40 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average low temperature in zone 10 is +30 to +40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The new 2006 Hardiness Zone Map is consistent with the consensus of climate scientists that global warming is underway. Tree planting is among the positive actions that people can take to reverse the trend. Tree planters across the nation can go to, click on the Hardiness Zone link, and enter their zip code to determine their hardiness zone.

"The Arbor Day Foundation supports tree planting throughout America," says Foundation President John Rosenow. "Providing the hardiness zone for individual zip codes at is an important part of that goal, by giving tree planters the most up-to-date and useable data available."

"Of course existing trees should continue to be cared for," said Woody Nelson from the Arbor Day Foundation. "Certain species may be more vulnerable to stress with the current warmer climate, but they will continue to provide environmental and economic benefits as they grow. It's just a good idea to consider more tree species diversity for the future."<end copy>

You can download hi-resolution copies of the new map here. If you click around the site you can check your zone via zip code, also.

New Hardiness Maps

There seems to be a little controversy regarding the new hardiness map. A lot of people are saying that basing the map on 15 years of data is a mistake. I can only speak to my little area and I happen to agree that some areas of the Connecticut shoreline are Zone 7. We have quite a few microclimates here in Connecticut and I think gardeners in general are still going to have to think about that. This isn’t going to make me rush out and buy a bunch of Zone 7 plants and think they are going to magically survive do to the map changes. It seems, from my personal observations, that every eight to ten years here that we get a winter that burns the higher zone plants to the ground.


Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener) said...

That's a beautiful shot. I love that bit of dew at the throat of the flower.

It's great to be able to follow a plant over the years, seeing it in different seasons, its different moods. Everything has to come together to get "the shot": light, plant condition, weather, time-of-day. Photography helps me see things differently, notice details I would otherwise pass over.


Long Island is still firmly in Zone 7, so the changes don't affect me much. We have the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound to stabilize our winter temperatures. I used to live and garden in Manhattan, Zone 6. I still don't trust Zone 7.

The past ten years have been the warmest on record. If they based the new map on the past 30 years, would it be much different? Average temperatures will continue to increase. But weather is also going to become more unpredictable; weather "extremes" will be more frequent. It may be a wash in that regard.

An interesting pattern in the zone change map is the banding across the southeast. It looks likes large standing waves of warming. It's really striking, yet I can't come up with a hypothesis for what would cause that.

Unknown said...

Xris... maybe the growth in areas like Charlotte, etc.? More cities=more cars and more concrete=more heat creation and retention?

Digital Flower Pictures, I really wanted to say that I'm enjoying your beautifuly photography as well as your posts.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

xris, you are so lucky you get to garden in Long Island. Things seem to grow so well out there. Plus you can grow a lot of things I wouldn't dream of trying.

Kim, Thanks for visiting again. I enjoy your blog also.

Anonymous said...

I have a larger (more flowers in the photo) picture of the clock vine, if you want me to email it to you. I took it in the Botanical Gardens south of Puerto Vallarta. I have a Canon 7D camera, and it was taken with a 70-200mm 2.8 lens. I would watermark it, but you could post it, if you`d like to.
Rosemary H.