Pandorea pandorana is a vigorous woody climber, with twining stems growing to 10 metres or more long; with fawn coloured bark.
It has a large natural range across NSW, growing commonly ialong the entirety of the coast, right out to the far western plains. It grows ove rmuch of the eastern half of Queensland, right up to Cape York, as well as the eastern half of Victoria. It is found disjunctly in the places such as near the centre of Australia (WA, SA and NT border-area); the east coast of Western Australia around Perth and the northern parts of WA. It also occurs on Lord Howe Island as well as Flinders Island.
It grows in a variety of habitats including wet and dry sclerophyll woodland and forest, as well as heathlands and shrublands (including semi-arid and arid), and commonly in rainforest, on a variety of soils. It favours rocky sites in many locations.
Pandorea spp. have compound and opposite leaves, with leaves having one level of leaflet division and an odd number of leaflets with one terminal leaflet (a compound leaf called imparipinnate). In this species, leaves are to 16 cm long with up to 9 leaflets; each leaflet to 8 cm long and 3 cm wide, lanceolate to ovate and with a mucro with entire margins, and dark to mid-green in colour. The juvenile leaves are very distinctive; to 8 cm long with up to 17 small and toothed leaflets, each about 1 x 1 cm or so.
Pandorea have tubular flowers produced in thryses or racemes, at the terminals or upper leaf axils. In this species, flowers are about two centimetres long, usually creamy-white with either brown or purple markings in the throat. Flowering is both profuse and conspicuous in spring and is particularly eye-catching because the blooms are held in large terminal clusters.
Pandorea have fruits looking very much like a pods but they are capsules. In this species – they are oblong to ovoid, to 6 cm long and 2 cm wide with many pretty winged seeds to 1.5 cm in diameter.
A very hardy and useful plant in a garden. It can be grown easily over a trellis or pergola and can have the top pruned into a dense rounded canopy. It does have the condition eventually of having naked basal stems with all of the foliage at the top. However, the flowering is well worth waiting for.
Can be grown to cover fences and create privacy. Not fussy of soil provided drainage is adequate. Will tolerate full sun to part shade.
Prune after flowering to tidy up if it becomes messy and tangled.
Useful for attracting insects such as bees and butterflies. Very hardy once established.
Propagate from seed and cuttings. Cultivars should be propagated from cuttings to maintain ‘true-to-type’ forms.
There are a number of colour forms: “Snowbells” has pure white flowers and “Golden Showers” with distinctive yellow-bronze blooms are well known. ‘Ruby Belle’ has red flowers. ‘Golden Showers’ is a particularly interesting form. It comes from the forest country, west of Kempsey, northern NSW. Many years ago trip by the Armidale Group of Australian Plants Society NSW came across this form in the forested country, east of Armidale. Not so long ago a researcher, from the University of New England, also came across the form in the same area. Some cuttings were collected and ‘Golden Showers’ is growing happily in our garden.
Pandorea is a genus of 6 species with 4 species in Australia, 3 of which are endemic. They are related to the well-known exotic tree Jacaranda which have larger but similarly structured flowers. NSW currently has 4 species.
This species regenerates readily after fire, often from the seedbank and reshooting plants.
Pandorea – referring to the Greek Mythological character Pandora who opened an artefact which released bad things upon humanity. The reference is for the fruits of these plants which open to release many seeds.
pandorana – again referring to Pandora.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Pandorea pandorana profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Pandorea~pandorana
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.
Australian Native Plants Society Australia – Pandorea pandorana profile page https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/pandorea-pandorana/