Common name: Flying goldfish
Location: Highlands Gallery, growing on a tree in south planting bed
Native to: Central and South America
Columnea is a genus with approximately 200 species of herbs and shrubs. They are known for their brightly colored tubular flowers, which comes in shades of red, orange, or yellow in order to attract hummingbirds for pollination. Many species' blossoms resembles the head of a dragon or the body of a goldfish, which inspired their common name, 'the flying goldfish plant'. The petals of this species are striking because of the contrast of deep purple and chartreuse.
Columnea species are epiphytic plants, which means they grow on top of other vegetations. In the wild, they can be found climbing on tree trunks and branches. Constant precipitation provides the roots with moisture, and the excellent drainage prevents the water from standing and rotting the roots.
Carl Linnaeus named Columnea after Fabio Colonna (the latinization of Colonna is Columnea), a 16th century Italian botanist. Colonna was honored for his historical compilation of botanical data published in 1592, the first of its kind illustrated with copper plates.
What's in Bloom
in the Highlands Gallery on our website to keep track of your favorite blooming beauties.