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Accepted Scientific Name: Hoya meliflua (Blanco) Merr.
Sp. Blancoan. 318 1918 Merr.
Origin and Habitat: Hoya meliflua is a species of Hoya vine endemic to the Philippines (Apayao, La Union, Rizal, Bataan, Laguna, Mindoro, Palawan, Negros, Panay, and Leyte). It was first described in 1837 by Francisco Manuel Blanco on the island of Luzon.
Habitat and ecology: Montane forest at around 1000-1200 metres above sea level.
Hoya meliflua (Blanco) Merr.
Sp. Blancoan. 318 1918
- Hoya meliflua (Blanco) Merr.
- Stapelia meliflua Blanco
- Hoya carnosa Blanco non R.Br.
- Hoya meliflua subs. fraterna T.Green
ENGLISH: Hoya, Wax Plant, Porcelain Flower, Little fraterna, Waxplant, Waxvine, Waxflower
Description: Hoya meliflua is an epiphytic trailer or climbing plant that can reach lengths up to about 4 meters, but has a strange growing habit as it doesn't twine well and the branches quickly turn hard. It has stiff succulent-like, dark green, and glossy leaves with a very clean look to them. The flowers are pink to reddish-orange and have 5-nectaries near the base of the central column from which a dark-colored sap is produced that drips very easily. There is also a subspecies, Hoya meliflua ssp. fraterna, that has longer, narrower leaves. The name of the latter frequently causes mix ups with Hoya fraterna. Hoya fraterna is different than H. meliflua ssp. fraterna, and both are different than H. meliflua...though they all have traits in common. H. meliflua ssp. fraterna is suppose to have the longest leaves...but H. fraterna has much larger and longer leaves.
Derivation of specific name: The specific name comes from the Latin words "mellis", honeydew and "fluo", flow, in reference to the abundant nectar that stains the flowers.
Stem: Terete, 3-4 metres long, slightly fleshy, branched, glabrous.
Leaves: Leathery to succulent-like, dark green, and glossy, elongate ovate 9-13 cm long, 5-6 cm wide, slightly obtuse to acute, glabrous with no evident venation. Petiole slightly fleshy 15-20 mm long, glabrous.
Inflorescences (umbels): Developing at the end of it's new growth. Each umbel comes with 10-20 flowers.
Flowers. The flowers of Hoya meliflua look similar to those of Hoya kerrii and can be pink to reddish-orange, but some-times almost white. The flowers have 5 nectaries near the base of the central column that produce a dark nectar, which create chestnut coloured stains in the hairy corolla. At first the flowers have a strange scent, similar to glue but not so strong, but as the flowers mature the scent turns more sweet they smell like chocolate.
Blooming season: It blooms in the spring, summer, and fall on mature plants. The plant flowers in June in the Philippines. The flowers last a long time.
History: Among the numerous Philippine species of Hoya, Blanco's description applies best to Hoya luzonica Schltr., which is, moreover, the only species of the genus found in the vicinity of Manila, and is generally distributed in the regions from which Blanco secured most of his botanical material. Fernandez-Villar reduced it to Hoya diversifolia Blume, a species not definitely known from the Philippines. Certainly a species of Hoya, but not that species. There are several other synonyms for Hoya meliflua including Hoya carnosa named by Blanco in 1845, Hoya diversifolia by Fernandez in 1880, and Hoya parasitica by Fernandez in 1880. These synonyms were found to be invalid under Article 53.1 of international nomenclature.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Hoya meliflua group
- Hoya meliflua (Blanco) Merr.: leaves succulent-like, dark green glossy, elongate ovate 9-13 cm long, 5-6 cm wide, glabrous, with no evident venation. Petiole 15-20 mm long, glabrous. Distribution: Philippines.
- Hoya meliflua subs. fraterna T.Green: has extremely large, dark green and glossy leaves up to 45 cm long, the longest leaves of all Hoyas. Distribution: Philippines.
Bibliography: Major refeences and further lectures
1) Wikipedia contributors. "Hoya meliflua." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
2) Blanco and Llanos "Species Blancoanae" A critical revision of the Philippine species of plants, Bureau of Science, Published in Manila, p. 318 1918
3) Worse, "Perkins Fragm flora Philippinae" p. 130 (1905)
4) Kloppenburg and Ann D. Wayman, "The Hoya Handbook (A Guide for the Grower & Collecter)" 1992, p. 79
5) Ted Green "H. meliflua Merrill ssp. Meliflua Merrill SSP. fraterna Green ssp. Fraterna Green SSP. nova Nova" Malesiana Bulletin Vol Flora (6) October 1995 Reprinted in Fraterna 1 (1995), 2 (1995) and 9 (1995)
7) Focke Albers, Ulli Meve "Succulents lexicon" Volume 3 p. 156 2002
8) D. Kloppenburg "The World of Hoyas - a pictorial guide" 1999 p. 154 short description and photo of 155 S. Ann Wayman
9) V. Siar, "Philippine Hoyas from Simeona" Information Bulletin No. 237/2005 of the Department of Science and Technology Las Banos Philippines, p. 10.
Stapelia meliflua (Hoya meliflua) Photo by: Luiza Ferreira
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Hoya meliflua isn't much of a climber, but looks really nice hanging in a basket. Needs a sturdy support as it grows heavy with time. It is considered as an easy-to-care and very temperature-tolerant plan and is suitable for hoya beginners. It is a topical plant that once again will do much better with some extra warmth and humidity, but can tolerate freezing temperatures for a short period of time. When in bloom, it and its closest relative, Hoya kerrii, drip a dark-colored sap, in summer it is easy to find a place outside where the sticky sap does no harm. Inside, a plastic drop cloth beneath them is a good idea.
Growth rate: This is a strong hoya that grows very well in optimal condition.
Potting medium: Because it is an epiphyte benefits from being potted up in a very well-draining and porous potting medium that allows some air to get to the roots; typical mixes include, peat, with some fibrous soil and sand along with large-grade drainage material such as perlite, pumice, or ceramic balls. Often specialized hoya growers either use only chopped coconut husk or a good orchid potting mixture for growing their hoya plants. The medium needs to be moisture-retentive.
Fertilization: The plants should be fed regularly with a fertilizer suitable for epiphytic plants.
Watering: Medium and low tolerance to drought growth, so it should be kept moist, but can dry up a bit from time to time without being damaged by it. Water regularly in summer, but do not overwater ( wet-sensitively) and let the plants to dry out between watering and then water again. Its roots are easily lost in pots that stay damp for any length of time. Keep quite dry with ample airflow in winter (It would probably tolerate one watering a month). In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity. Care must be taken with watering as they tends to become swollen and untidy in growth habit if given too much water and shade. This plant will suffer considerably in the dry environment of northern centrally heated homes in the winter. If you want this plant to be happy in the winter grow it in a room with lots of humidity.
Fertilization: During the growing season enrich the soil using a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorous, but poor in nitrogen, because this chemical element doesn’t help the development of succulent plants, making them too soft and full of water.
Exposition: This hoya species prefers bright light but no direct sun. Outside half shade to shade (filtered sunlight or afternoon shade tolerated), inside it will need a reasonably light room in order to actually grow, although it will still get by even in a shadier spot and can be positioned almost anywhere in homes or offices. It subject to sunburn if exposed to direct sun for too long. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy leaves production.
Temperature: The ideal for this species, temperature is between 20 and 25 but never below 10ºC. (Outdoor zone: At least Zone 10, possibly cooler).
Spring: When winter ends and they begin to grow again, they will require much water and soaking the pots will no longer put the plants at risk for rot. In the spring they will grow well in partial shade and leaving them out in the rain may provide them with the water they need.
Summer: In the summer months they will tolerate heavy rain, but will be just as happy if the season is dry. They will tolerate hot weather outdoors as long as they are kept in strongly filtered light and this will encourage them to flower. They also enjoy some fertiliser. Moving the plants as they are developing buds may cause them to spontaneously abort the flowers all together.
Autumn: In the fall keep them outdoors until the night time temperatures drop below the 10°C.
Winter: Winter care presents no problems at 12° C with plenty of light. In winter be sure to take extra precautions to keep them dry, because damp cool conditions when the plants are resting is an invitation to fungal infections, but - according to temperatures –some occasional lit watering may be useful.
Maintenance: Prune the plant lightly to keep it tidy.
Repotting: In any season it's best to lay the stems out for several days before replanting them and then pot them only in dry soil and withhold any water until they begin to shrivel or start growing again. Re-pot every 2 years.
Pest and diseases: Hoyas are generally fairly easy to grow, especially if kept pest-free. They are very susceptible to stem and root mealy bug, which can be fought easily with common pesticides, and damage from these may well initiate fungal attack. Any time when there is a dead or dying stem in the pot it is important to remove it immediately and completely before other healthy stems can become ill too, isolate the healthy parts, dry them off, and re-root them in new compost.
Warning: As Hoya meliflua belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family it contains a white, milky sap, which may cause skin irritations.
Propagation: This species propagates readily from stem cuttings, whether in water, in soil or in a sterile medium (such as perlite).
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