Brunnichia cirrhosa Gaertn.

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Bean

A deciduous climber growing 15 ft or more high, with slender, grooved stems, glabrous except at the joints, and supporting itself by means of forked tendrils terminating the branches. Leaves alternate, ovate, truncate or heart-shaped at the base, pointed; 2 to 412 in. long, 114 to 212 in. wide; not toothed, dark glossy green, almost or quite glabrous; stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Flowers small, greenish, arranged in clusters of two to five on slender terminal and axillary racemes 112 to 6 in. long, the whole forming a loose panicle 12 to 18 in. high opening in July. Calyx persistent and surrounding the seed-vessel, enlarging and becoming leathery as the seed ripens; there is a wing 18 in. wide on one side extending down the flower-stalk, the whole ultimately about 1 in. long. Only a proportion of the flowers ripen seed and develop in this curious way. Seed deeply six-grooved.

Native of the south-eastern United States; introduced in 1787. This curious and interesting climber has not sufficient flower beauty to gain it much recognition in gardens, and although introduced so long ago, is very uncommon. It is perfectly hardy at Kew, where it has lived without protection in the open for more than seventy years. It somewhat resembles Smilax in leaf and growth.

Genus

Brunnichia

Other species in the genus