Framing the passage through the East Tropical House, this climbing species is producing pendent racemes of vibrant flower.
A member of the Acanthaceae, Thunbergia mysorensis is related to the more familiar Acanthus mollis, and both have zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetrical) flowers, characteristic of this family. Occurring in tropical montane forests of Tamil Nadu, southern India, this species climbs through host trees, but is widely cultivated in Indian gardens, where it has several common names, including Indian clock vine, Mysore trumpet vine, Munzerabad creeper, and lady’s slipper vine. T. mysorensis is an evergreen woody liane growing up to 10m in height. The individual yellow-throated flowers have reddish-brown lobes and are held in a pendent raceme to 90cm in length, and the stamens emerge from the throat of the flower and are held clear of the lip. The nectar, which is held in a well at the base of the corolla tube, provides a valuable food source for sunbirds, which brush against the stamens and incidentally pollinate the flower whilst supping from the well. The genus name Thunbergia commemorates the Swedish physician Carl Thunberg, 1743 – 1828.