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A scandent, quick-growing, more or less evergreen shrub, with downy, scarcely woody young shoots. Leaves ovate, variable in size, usually 21⁄2 to 5 in. long, mostly less than half as wide, taper-pointed, rounded or wedge-shaped, rarely heart-shaped at the base, minutely downy on both surfaces; stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers delicate bluish purple, fragrant, produced from June to September in long-stalked corymbs, 3 to 6 in. across. Each flower is 1 to 11⁄4 in. wide, the corolla with five ovate lobes, the yellow anthers closely packed in the centre. Fruits globose, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 3795.
Native of Chile and Peru; introduced about 1830. This beautiful plant is only seen at its best in the milder counties of Great Britain, and few plants, even there, are more graceful and lovely. On a south wall at Kew it has grown and flowered for many years, but never with the vigour and profusion one sees in Devonshire and similar localities. It will grow 30 ft or more high if given support. The most beautiful effect I have seen produced by it was where it had been planted against the wall of a low shed, over the roof of which it had clambered. It may be pruned back in spring before growth commences. Where the climate is suitable it may be treated as a loose-habited, wide-spreading shrub, by pruning hard back annually. It will thrive in poor soil, even a chalky one.
Synonyms / alternative names
Solanum crispum 'Autumnale'
A vigorous selection, flowering over a longer period than the older form, even in winter in a mild season. Distributed from the Glasnevin Botanic Garden before 1918. A.M. 1955 when exhibited from Kew, where it has long been cultivated.