J. L. HUDSON, SEEDSMAN, BOX 337, LA HONDA, CALIFORNIA 94020-0337 USA
Argyreia nervosa identification:
Argyreia nervosa, the Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, is a popular ornamental in
tropical areas, and a popular houseplant in cold regions. The
dried pods are used in arrangements, and the plant is used in Ayurvedic medicine. Because of the
popularity and high price of the seed, certain other seeds are being passed off as A. nervosa.
Be careful what you buy! Before buying in bulk, request a sample, and compare with these
photographs. Click on the small image for a magnified view. We recommend when buying
this seed in bulk, to get in writing that the supplier will refund your money if the
seed is not like the sample and you return the seed. Deal only with people you trust. We were once
contacted by a small farmer in Hawaii, who had purchased the seed in bulk in order to put in a small
plantation of the vines to supplement his income by supplying the wholesale dried-flower trade.
After spending a lot on the seed, and putting much effort into growing the plants and setting them
out in his field, they turned out to be mis-identified.
Notice that true Argyreia nervosa has a large hilum (seed attachment scar), and has a fuzzy whitish coating. False Argyreia often is smoother, has a smaller hilum, and little or no fuzzy coating. Some types are fuzzier. Some suppliers claim that the false Argyreia is just a variety of the true A. nervosa, but we believe that several separate species of Argyreia are involved. Seed of several other unrelated species, including Thespesia populnea, have been passed off on the unwary as A. nervosa. We generally do not sell Argyreia seed ourselves. We present this page as a public service.
If you receive seed that you think is mis-identified or questionable, please send us a small sample (10 seeds is enough) with details of source, and if it is a new type not shown here, we will post a photo and give you our opinion of the identity. This is a free service.
CLICK ON THE SMALL IMAGE FOR A MAGNIFIED VIEW.
1. True A. Nervosa
2. True A. nervosa
3. False Argyreia,
4. False Argyreia
|5. False, Thespesia.
|6. False, P.J.T.
|7. False, Unknown
Numbers 1 and 2 are of the true Argyreia nervosa of Hawaiian origin.
Note the large hilum to one side, the two flat sides of the seed, and the whitish membrane which
adheres to the surface.
Numbers 3 and 4 appear to be other Argyreia species, of other origin. In form they resemble A. nervosa, but have smaller hilums and the seed coat is distinctly smoother. These Argyreia species should not be called "Hawaiian" Baby Woodrose, as they are not of Hawaiian origin.
Number 5 is Thespesia populnea, passed off as A. nervosa by a Hawaiian seller.
Number 6 is some other species that was passed off by P.J.T. Botanicals, Bridgewater, MA, as Argyreia nervosa in the year 2000. Note the roundness, smooth seed surface, lighter color, and tiny hilum at the seed tip. This species has also been called Argyreia speciosa, and usually comes from India.
Number 7 is some other Argyreia species, Hawaiian origin. Note dense hairs on the surface.
We would be very interested to hear from anyone who has actually grown out any of the false Argyreia species, as we would like to get them botanically identified.