Family : Rubiaceae
Text © Pietro Puccio
English translation by Mario Beltramini
The Manettia luteorubra (Vell.) Benth. (1850) is native to tropical forests of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The genus is honoured to the Italian botanist Saverio Manetti (1723-1785), director of the Botanic Garden (called Giardino dei Semplici) of Florence. The name of the species is the combination of the Latin words “luteus” = yellow and “ruber” = red, with reference to the colour of its flowers.
Common names: “firecracker vine”, “Brazilian firecracker”, “candy cane vine”, “candy corn vine”, “cigar flower”, “twining firecracker” (English); “manettie”, “manettie flammée”, “manettie jaune-rouge” (French); “Manettie”, “Kleine Röhren”, “Rotgelb”, “Zigarettenblümchen”, “Feuerwerkspflanze” (German).
Herbaceous climber, evergreen, fast growing, it can reach a length of 3,5 metres; it shows ovate leaves, 7-10 cm long, emerald green, wrinkly to the touch. Solitary flowers at the axil of the leaves, long 2,5-3,5 cm, slightly wider at the base, of a bright red colour, with lobes and yellow throat. The plant is fully covered with a short down. The fruit is a capsule containing winged seeds. It reproduces by seed and by cutting.
Climber suitable for tropical and subtropical climates, where it flowers almost continuously, to be cultivated preferably in shade position on soils kept humid and rather acid. Seen its growing speed, in the cooler climates it is cultivated as annual or in pot for the cultivation in greenhouse or for indoor decoration. In the wild, the flower is frequently “visited” by the humming-birds.
Synonyms: Guagnebina luteorubra Vell. (1829); Manettia bicolor Paxton (1843); Adenothola bicolor (Paxton) Lem. (1846); Manettia filicaulis Wawra (1881); Lygistum luteorubrum (Vell.) Kuntze (1891); Lygistum pubescens (Cham. & Schltdl.) Kuntze (1891); Manettia paraguariensis Chodat (1899); Manettia inflata Sprague (1904); Manettia quinquenervia Sprague (1905); Manettia bradei Standl. (1931); Manettia samuelssoniana Standl. (1931); Manettia luteorubra var. paraguariensis (Chodat) I.C.Chung (1967).
The photographic file of Giuseppe Mazza