This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, dog strangle). Asclepiaddcese. Herbaceous or sometimes half woody at the base, twining, sometimes seen in gardens.
In the restricted sense as limited by Bentham & Hooker, perhaps 25 species differing from Vincetoxicum in having a scale or ligule on the inside of each of the 5 parts of the crown: leaves opposite, cordiform or hastate: flowers small, in umbelliform or racemi-form cymes; calyx 5-parted; corolla nearly rotate, deeply 5-cut, the lobes oblong or roundish; corona membranaceous, adnate to the stamen-tube, cup-shaped or at base ringed, 5-lobed opposite the anthers and with inner scales or small lobes: follicles rather fleshy, acuminate and smooth. - The genus is mostly of S. Eu., Africa, Asia and Austral. Schumann in Engler & Prantl combines Vincetoxicum and other genera with it, making more than 100 species in the warmer parts of both hemispheres. Vincetoxicum is here kept distinct.
Hemsl. (Vincetoxicum acuminatum, Decne. V. japonicum, Hort.). Mosquito Plant. Cruel Plant. Perennial: erect or nearly so, or the tips showing a somewhat twining habit: stems grayish and more or less angular: leaves opposite, broadly ovate and acuminate, short-petioled, strongly pinnate-veined, entire, usually conspicuously gray-pubescent beneath: flower-clusters lateral (1-2 between the leaves), shorter than the leaves; flowers white, small, in umbel-like cymes: fruit a milkweed-like follicle. Japan. - In the flowers mosquitos and other insects are caught, much as they are in other asclepiadaceous plants. The native Amsonia Taberme-montana is sometimes sold as this plant, and it has been figured as such. This plant attracted attention some years ago as a curious garden subject. Other species are mentioned in foreign gardening literature, but they are apparently not in the American trade. C. aciitum, Linn., with cordate smooth leaves and white or rose-colored fragrant flowers, is a climber in S. Eu., reaching 10 or 12 ft. C. formosum, N. E. Br., is glabrous, with petiolate ovate, elliptic or oblong-ovate acuminate leaves: flowers in large lateral pedunculate cymes; corolla pale green, deeply lobed; corona tubular - bell - shaped, 15 - crenulate, prominent.
Peru. L, H. B.