Torenia (Wishbone Flower; Bluewings; Clown Flower)
Torenia, widely known as Wishbone Flower, is a genus of about 15 species in the family Linderniaceae, native to Africa and Southeast Asia. This charming plant produces oval or heart-shaped leaves and beautiful bright flowers in shades of purple, blue, pink, yellow and white. These unusual, trumpet-like flowers are two-lipped, with prominent markings on the petals. The plant is suitable for use in garden beds and borders, as well as containers.
The genus name is given in honor of Swedish botanist Olaf Toren (1718-1753), who was chaplain of the Swedish East India Company in the mid-1700s.
The common name "Wishbone Flower" comes from the two stamens united at the anthers, forming a structure that resembles a chicken wishbone.
The common name "Bluewings" refers to its wing-shaped petals.
These brightly colored flowers resemble the face of a clown, hence the common name "Clown Flower". This is especially true with the pink, yellow and white varieties.
Torenia symbolizes happiness and charm.
Interesting facts about Torenia:
Due to its shade tolerance and array of colors, Torenia is often used as a companion to Impatiens, Caladiums, Begonias and Coleus.
Torenia doesn't like being transplanted, so keep it in the pot or sow straight into the garden. However, it's not impossible to transplant it, but it does require some skills and techniques to perform it correctly.
Torenia fournieri, the most popular species of Torenia, is a useful experimental model plant for cytogeneticist to study fertilization. It is also used as a model plant in studying the location and movement of chromosomes and their centromeres in the early stages of embryogenesis.