Echites umbellatus

Echites umbellatus Jacq.

Synonym: Echites umbellata

Common Names: Devils Potato, Wild Potato, Rubber Vine, Danish

Family: Apocynaceae

Habit: Echites umbellatus grows as a shrubby vine climbing over other vegetation and structures. The leaves are arranged oppositely, ovate and up to 20 cm in length. The leaf tip is apiculate and the margins are entire.

The flowers are arranged in cymes. The calyx has 5 unfused greenish sepals. The corolla has 5 white petals that are fused forming a tube up to 10 cm long. At the end of the tube there are 5 lobes forming a pinwheel with the edges of the lobes overlapping at their base to one side. There are 5 stamens that are fused to the inside of the corolla tube. The ovary is superior, forming follicles in pairs, each up to 20 cm in length. The seeds are brownish and have tufts of hairs (coma) that assist in aerial dispersal.

Habitat: Echites umbellataus grows in a variety of habitats including Human Altered environments, Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Shrublands (Scrublands/Whitelands) and Pine Woodlands.

Distribution: Echites umbellatus occurs throughout the Lucayan Archipelago as well as Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Echites umbellatus has no known medicinal usage in the Lucayan Archipelago.

The large, showy, and attractive flowers have made Echites umbellatus useful in the horticultural trade for climbing up trellis’s and walls.