Jovellana are typically semi-evergreen perennials with a mounding or creeping habit. A striking feature of this genus are the charming flowers, formed with distinctive bright spots, a trait shared with the closely related South American genus calceolaria.
Jovellana violaceafrom South America, bears coin-shaped leaves atop reddish stems.
The bell-shaped flowers are light purple in color, with distinctive purple spots over a yellow interior. This mound-forming shrub displays masses of these dainty, fingernail-sized flowers from spring through summer.
The second South American species, punctate jovellanabears similar purple speckled flowers, but shows subtle differences in color and size.
Our native species of Jovellana are just as charming. Jovellana sinclairii is a subshrub – herbaceous with soft woody lower stems, Jovellana repents grows into a low mat up to 2 meters wide. Both bear the characteristic speckled flowers.
Jovellana is believed to have evolved in South America and arrived in New Zealand relatively recently.
To grow Jovellana in a sheltered, semi-shaded spot where they can be protected from bright afternoon sunlight. Because they are species with a cool climate, Jovellana may not thrive in warmer climates. Whether growing the South American or New Zealand strain Jovellanathese plants with their beautiful flowers brighten up every garden.
Jovellana are now thriving in the South American borders and New Zealand’s plant collection.
Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For more information, please contact Kyla Mathewson