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‹ Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey

San Miguelito

July 18, 2018

San Miguelito
Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey

00:00 / 00:04:36

I call Antigonon leptopus queens wreath, because that’s the name I first learned for it. If you looked up queen’s wreath you will find the genus Petria volubilis. A good example of why common names can be confusing. I like the common name of San Miguelito. I’m thinking that a Mexican native plant should probably have a Spanish common name, right? Oh it has many other common names, so you could pick one of your liking. Just remember it will always be Antigonon leptopus and it ranges from Sonora, Chihuahua, Oaxaca and down to Baja California. And of course, it has been introduced all over the place as it is a rather attractive vine and we humans do tend to spread plants around. Sometimes a good thing, other times maybe not; in Florida this vine has become a varmint.

I love this description of San Miguelito from the botanist Ira Wiggins in the Flora of Baja California: A “scrambling perennial herbaceous vine from a slightly woody base.” Doesn’t the word “scrambling” capture this marvelous vine? It scrambles, it rambles, it crawls and sprawls and that’s exactly the reason I planted it years ago at our home northwest of Tucson. I wanted it to clamber up and over trees and shrubs and it did.

The flowers of San Miguelito are usually pink, but there is a red selection in the nursery trade and  a long time ago I remember seeing a white flowering one at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. That said, there is more to this vine than beautiful flowers. Indigenous people ate the seeds and roots, sometimes prepared and sometimes raw. You can read about that in Wendy Hodgson’s fabulous book Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert.

I have many 35 mm slides of Antigonon, but no digital photos. Something I need to remedy. The photo used is by botanist Sheldon Navie. Thanks go to him.

Antigonon leptopus,   Growing Native,   Petey Mesquitey,   Polygonaceae,   queen's wreath,   San Miguelito,  


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