This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.
Size: Twining shrub; either sprawls on ground or grows as vine, up to 10 feet tall.
Bloom season: From late spring through fall, showy yellow clusters of small flowers followed by highly ornamental red-winged fruit.
Exposure: Full sun or partial shade.
Pruning needs: Prune to shape and direct growth.
Water needs: Medium to low; once established, water deeply every other week.
Snapshot: Also known as red wings or vining maple, this unusual and little-seen evergreen can be trained as twining (and sprawling) shrub or upright as a climbing vine with shiny lance-shaped leaves. A native of South America, mariposa bears golden clusters of small flowers from late spring to almost frost. Those flowers turn into pink- to crimson-colored ornamental fruit with wings similar to that of a maple; that’s how it got its “red wings” nickname. Tough and heat tolerant, mariposa can be trained up a fence or trellis, but needs support.
For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.