From a distance the Thumbergia flowers stand out as a bright orange disc of petals with a black spot at the centre. Up close the hidden depths of the dark maroon tube appear but to human eyes the stamens and nectaries are still invisible. Maybe the eyes of a tropical bee reveal a different picture.
At first glance each purple campanula flower is a picture of simplicity; five equal petals around a three-branched stigma. Looking closer, the curved stamens and dark nectaries appear in the depths of the tapering tube. The petals shade to white at the base, every surface is dusted with pollen and the flower looks much more complicated.
The climbing Thunbergia or Black-eyed Susan adds some welcome colour to a large, rather dull houseplant. In the tropics it can become an invasive weed, smothering native vegetation. The little purple Campanula is well established on our shady balcony. Despite its delicate appearance it’s a tough survivor and successful coloniser, tolerant of both sun and shade.
Click on any photo for a closer view.