I need a midweek exhale…How about a Cup of Gold?

One of those weeks?

I could use a midweek exhale…time to set the restart button…change of focus…

Cup of Gold, tropical plant native to Mexico
Cup of Gold, tropical plant native to Mexico

I had never seen a Solandra maxima before our January trip to Santa Barbara.

 A real show-stopper, don’t you think?

Solandra maxima
Solandra maxima

Vivid yellow with purple veins, this gorgeous vine can grow up to 200 feet long.

I found this specimen at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History–blooming in January! Beautiful!

Courtyard at Museum of Natural History Santa Barbara

Unfortunately this beauty seems to come with some warnings…

Cup of Gold Bud

 The vine is so strong it can choke another tree, so recommendations include destroying it if found in the wild.

Flowers will last a few days in water
Flowers will last a few days in water

Oh, and by the way? The entire plant is poisonous.

I still think I want one.

40 thoughts on “I need a midweek exhale…How about a Cup of Gold?

    1. I would love to visit the Cup of Gold at the museum sometime in spring or summer to see the difference! It was so vibrant and healthy in January, which seemed surprising. It’s a shame it isn’t a very garden friendly vine. I could see it just taking over and I don’t need more maintenance! But it sure is beautiful! 🙂

  1. Gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing them. I’m sorry you had problems leaving comments, but at least it worked in the end. And thanks for the good thoughts.

    1. I’m not sure what was going on last night with trying to leave a comment, Inger! Sometimes I think Blogger and WordPress are having a little argument! LOL! Isn’t the Cup of Gold beautiful? Beautiful flower and lovely name, and unfortunately poisonous! Oh well! 🙂

    1. I’m glad I could share a vine and flower I don’t think is too well know, Karen. It was a surprise to me! I had never seen it before, but now that I know it’s poisonous as well as dangerously invasive, perhaps I know why it is so rare, right? LOL!

    1. Thank you so much, Charlie. The day turned around…LOL! My “bad days” aren’t usually too bad, thankfully. 🙂 But the Cup of GOld is gorgeous, isn’t it? I don’t think I should have a poisonous plant around after all–I have Darwin to think about, don’t I?

    1. You know, Nancy, shame on me for not thinking of Darwin. At the size he is now, he probably couldn’t get to the vine, but he isn’t getting any smaller! LOL! I guess I’ll have to abandon that thought after all! Thanks for the reminder…I won’t tell Darwin how thoughtless I was!

    1. I guess my enthusiasm for the Cup of Gold wasn’t very well thought through, Claire! LOL! I think I could navigate the poisonous aspect, but where I would place something that has the strength to take down a tree is a bit trickier! 🙂

  2. This is a spectacular plant, Debra. When I see a bloom so vividly colored, I wonder what pollinates it and whether that animal/bird/insect sees as we do. I’ve read where bees see thing differently and there are some who believe parrots see in what might be called a 4th dimension, allowing them to see when fruit is fully ripe and in its prime. Perhaps their coloring alone is enough to draw their specific pollinators but, if not, I can’t help but wonder what the bloom would like like to the “trained” eye.
    As for owning one, no thank you. Max and I already spent a day at an emergency vet after he ate poisonous berries in my yard. After going there so many times – each for a different reason — that we were on a first name basis, it’s been over a year since we’ve been back there and I prefer to keep it that way. 🙂

    1. First of all, John, how terrible for you and Max! That must have been so frightening! Although I learned from an article on the Internet that the Cup of Gold is poisonous, I am really surprised that it is such a prominently placed vine at a public museum with tons of children. It seems risky if it is really poisonous. But as much as I’m tempted and could probably avoid the dangers of it being toxic, I can’t imagine finding any structure strong enough to hold it up! If it can take down a tree, an ordinary trellis isn’t going to stand up! 🙂

      I enjoyed your questioning its route to pollination! Such interesting thoughts–I never gave it a thought, but you do have me wondering now, also. The idea of a 4th dimension is fascinating! I’ve certainly not heard that before. Nature is limitless in variety and creativity. If I have the opportunity to visit this vine again in spring I’ll have to look for cues!

  3. What a gorgeous flower – your photos are beautiful Debra.
    The entire plant is poisonous, and you still want it in your garden? That’s how beautiful flowers work on us… Its so lovely and it doesn’t look poisonous…

    1. I would put the Cup of Gold in an area protected from Darwin or the kids! 🙂 I presume birds and wildlife know how to stay away! It was so prominently placed at the Natural History Museum, somewhat a surprise, given the number of children that pass through. So I think it had to do with placement. On the other hand, although the poisonous aspect doesn’t concern me any more than poinsettias or oleander, the idea that it could bring down a tree…now that makes me wonder if I could even construct anything strong enough to hold it up. Probably not!:-)

  4. Why is it that some of the most beautiful flowers are also the most invasive? Suddenly, that “feed me” song from “Little Shop of Horrors” is ringing through my head. Still, what a beautiful cup of gold this one is, Debra. Hope your day got better.

    1. Oh so funny! Yes, Little Shop of Horrors! I can see that, Penny. LOL! I am fine…by midweek I’d heard so many pieces of bad news from others it was weighing me down. I didn’t mean to sound the alarm bell. 🙂 Living in a community of friends, though, as I know you do, too, isn’t the list of people in poor health and experiencing real difficulties just getting longer and longer every day? Sometimes I need to pull away and take a little break. That’s where the weekend comes in! oxo

      1. Oh, how I know what you mean, and how those weekends and breaks in life help to see us through. Sometimes, we need to just say it’s been a bad day and validate it. Consider yourself validated. You’re the best, Debra.

    1. Such a good question, Tammy! You know, I didn’t even think to try to smell the Cup of Gold flower! It was growing very high on an archway that didn’t lend itself to a close inspection, but I wasn’t aware of any fragrance. It does look a little bit like a gardenia. I hadn’t thought that at the time, but I can see it! 🙂

  5. Beautiful images, Debra esp. the first one. That little courtyard in Natural History Museum is sightly.
    So cool that we’ve been to so many similar places! 😀

  6. Pingback: Peacocks and turtles in a work week surprise! | breathelighter

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