Picture Profile: 1201 Tayabak with Critters, Jade Vine

Botanical Illustration. Artist Code: 1201. Completed February 2012. Original SOLD. Water colour on Aquarelle Arches 100% hot pressed cotton rag paper. Unframed size 16″ x 12″. Framed size 19″ x 24″.

SOLD  at Swaffham Rotary Club 2014 Art Exhibition.

This painting was a finalist in The BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012 Award (Endangered Species category) and was selected for the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art (NEWA) 2012. Catalogue Number 48.

Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys), Philippine pygmy fruit bat (Haplonycteris fischeri), Handsome sunbirds (Aethopyga bella), Green Barred Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio palinurus).

‘Tayabak’ is the colloquial name for the beautiful Jade vine, which is now rare in the wild in its indigenous home in the Philippines. The plant grows beside streams in damp, tropical forests, or in ravines. But increasingly botanical institutions are successfully growing this plant and it is now available for sale in garden centres which have discovered how to pollinate the flowers! In the few places where the jade vine still grows in the wild, Philippine pygmy fruit bats fly amongst the 1m-long racemes, hanging upside down to suck the nectar from each flower and, as they do so, their heads touch the flower below and become coated with pollen. When they land on another bloom, the pollen on their heads touches a new flower and fertilization takes place. Handsome sunbirds and green barred swallowtail butterflies also live in or near the vine.
* My grateful thanks to Cambridge University Botanic Gardens for allowing me access to their beautiful flowering vine, which greatly helped in the design of this work. My grateful thanks also to my world-travelling friends for resource photographs of birds and butterflies.


Have you ever seen,
such a lovely shade of green
A jade vine in all its glory,
Flower bat in upper storey
Not from tropical forest, you’ll pardon
But from Cambridge’s Botanic Garden!
As Handsome Sunbirds spring and prance
Showing off their merry dance
Whilst butter-blue with emerald sheen
Amongst the blooms is hardly seen.