Bejuco Campana

(Allamanda Cathartica)

What is it?

Also known as Golden Trumpet, this common bush forms a loose, semi-open, medium-sized shrub. Leaves are dark green and glossy borne in whorls on stout, green stems. Groups of bright yellow flowers are periodically borne at the ends of branches throughout the year with peak bloom in summer and fall.  It does not twine, nor does it have tendrils or aerial roots. It can be pruned into a shrub form. If not pruned it can sprawl to a height of 20 feet.

Where does it live?

Coastal forests and thickets. Also on Cayo Icacos, Culebra, Mona, Vieques, Anegada, Guana Island, St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda; the Antilles and the United States (Florida).

Why is it here?

As with many of the plants in these boxes, Bejuco Campana is a woody vine native to the island of Puerto Rico. According to a 2014 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture such vines are thriving in the era of climate change, also known as the Anthropocene. As conditions have changed (drier summer months, warming trends that affect the timing of flowering and fruiting plants, etc…), these vines have begun to supplant larger native trees. The resulting loss of overall biomass has meant less Carbon Dioxide (CO2) captured by the fauna of the island, and thus more CO2 in the atmosphere, and thus faster climate change. Think of these plants as yet another “canary in the coal mine” of global warming, symbolic of changes taking place all over the globe. We have turned our thoughts toward Puerto Rico specifically in response to the Ghost Fishing anthology and its call for “eco-justice.” Hurricane intensity and frequency is on the rise as the planet warms. The same social, political and economic systems that have energized those storms has already ensured- through a long legacy of colonialism and racism-  that they will land hardest on those least responsible for climate change. Hurricanes Sandy and Maria are exhibits A and B in the case for fighting for eco-justice. We hope you will not forget this, and that you will join in that fight.

Of Note:

The city of Canóvanas, Puerto Rico has adopted this species, known locally as canario amarillo, as its official flower.