Cup of Gold
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Cup of Gold
ntroduced Photo: Nongthombam Ullysess
Common name: Cup of Gold, Chalice vine, Goldcup vine, Golden chalice vine
Botanical name: Solandra maxima    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)

Cup of gold is a heavy, thick stemmed liana with large shiny leaves and large bell shaped golden yellow flowers. Stems are thick and woody, rope-like, and branch frequently and root at their nodes. The vine can run for more than 60 m, clinging with aerial rootlets and scrambling over everything in the way. The evergreen leaves are leathery, about 15 cm long and elliptic, with prominent lighter colored midribs and lateral veins. The flowers are spectacular, looking like large cups of gold, 16-24 cm long, flaring open to 10-17 cm across. The sepal tube is much shorter than the lower narrow portion of the flower-tube. This feature distinguishes it from the closely related Solandra grandiflora The five petals of the flowers are reflexed, and each lobe is marked with a narrow purplish brown ridge on the inside. The flowers start out yellow and turn deeper golden as they age. They are fragrant, especially at night, with a scent reminiscent of coconut. Cup of gold blooms intermittently through the year. The fruits, rarely seen in cultivation, are conical and leathery, 4-5 cm long x 5-6 cm broad. Cup of Gold vine is endemic to Mexico and Central America, cultivated in India.

Identification credit: J.M. Garg Photographed in Gangtok, Sikkim.

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