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Products > Mascagnia macroptera
Mascagnia macroptera - Butterfly Vine
Image of Mascagnia macroptera
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Malpighiaceae (Malpighias)
Origin: Baja California (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Callaeum macroptera ]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25░ F
Mascagnia macroptera (Butterfly Vine) - This is an evergreen vine that climbs by twining stems bearing dark green, linear leaves. Beginning in late spring, this vine produces clusters of showy yellow 5-petaled 1-inch wide orchid-shaped flowers followed by papery, winged chartreuse seed pods that turn tan. This fruit resembles a green to brown butterfly, hence the common name "Butterfly Vine". A second flowering will often occur in fall. This aggressive heat-loving vine can climb 15 to 20 feet up a trellis or fence or without support it will twine on itself, growing in a mound which can be kept pruned to a shrub or groundcover. Plant in full or part sun and although it is a moderately drought tolerant plant once established, it will be more lush with regular watering from late spring through fall. Plants are cold hardy and evergreen to the mid-20s F. If grown in cooler climates this plant is considered deciduous. If frozen to the ground in such cold locations as USDA Zone 8 it will often resprout from the base but late frosts delay flowering. This plant is native to Mexico from central Baja California and on the mainland from Sonora south throughout much of Mexico. It is commonly called butterfly pea vine, yellow orchid vine, or gallinita. The name was given to this genus in 1824 by the Italian naturalist and physician Carlo Luigi Guiseppe Bertero (1789-1831) to honor Paolo Mascagni (1755-1815) an Italian naturalist and professor of anatomy at the University of Pisa. The specific epithet comes from the Greek words 'macro' meaning "large" and 'ptera' or 'pteron' meaning "winged" in reference to the large winged fruit of this species. Mascagnia macroptera is sometimes wrongly considered a synonym with Stigmaphyllon ciliatum which differs in having ovate ciliate margined leaves and it has also has been known as Callaeum macropterum. There is some confusion as to what the current name of this plant is and usually The Plant List (a collaboration between The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden) has been a very useful resource in these cases but in this case it lists both Callaeum macropterum (DC.) D.M.Johnson and Mascagnia macroptera (Moc. & SessÚ ex DC.) Nied as valid names and both reference Tropicos which also has both names as valid yet reference each other and the basionym Hiraea macroptera Moc. & SessÚ ex DC - very confusing! Until such time as this can be resolved we continue to list this plant as Mascagnia macroptera. Because of the naming confusion and since we also still grow Stigmaphyllon ciliatum and have in the past grown Stigmaphyllon littorale, we have a comparison image showing these three plants together on our Mascagnia and Stigmaphyllon Comparison PageThe information about Mascagnia macroptera displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our library and from reliable online resources. We also relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we visit, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others, and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.