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Congea tomentosa Roxb.

Family Name: Verbenaceae
Synonyms: Congea oblonga, Caryopteris villosa, Congea tomentosa var. nivea, Congea petelotii, Congea villosa
Common Name: Wooly Congea, Shower Orchid, White Congea, 绒苞藤, 糊木
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Ornamental Flowers Climber, Vine and Liana Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana, Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 3 m to 6 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 3 m to 6 m


Native Distribution Indian sub-continent (India, Bangladesh), China (Yunan), Indonchina (Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam), Malaysia (Kedah)
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form An evergreen, clambering woody shrub or weak climber, up to 6 m height (with support). 
Foliage Leaves pale green, papery and velvety. Leaves are arranged oppositely along the stem, and have prominent veins, elliptic to ovate shape. 
Stems Stems squarish in cross-section, densely covered with yellowish to grey fuzz. 
Flowers Flowers white, tubular, small and inconspicuous, with red stamens; each 5-9 flowered cyme is subtended by 3 woolly silver-white, petal-like bracts (2.5 cm long), resembling propellers. Flowers produced in long sprays throughout the year, may completely cover whole plant, making it look like a white cloud. 
Fruits Fruits are dry, one-seeded ovoid drupes.
Habitat Found in mixed forests. 
Similar More robust than Congea griffithiana (Pink Shower of Orchid), which produces 3-4 pink to lavender bracts around each flower cluster. 
Cultivation Prefers humus-rich, well-drained soils with acidic to neutral pH. Roots of young plants should be shaded. Prune to maintain size and shape, but avoid excessive pruning which inhibits flowering, as flowers are produced from stem tips. May occasionally be affected by scale insects -- control by spraying with white summer soil or malathion. 
Etymology Genus epithet 'Congea' is derived from East Indian vernacular name for plant. Species epithet 'tomentosa' means 'covered with fine matted hairs', a reference to the woolly parts of the plant.
Ethnobotanical Uses Cut - Dried Flower ( Whole branches with their flowering clusters can be used in floral arrangements. Dried flower bracts are long-lasting.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Can be grown for attractive flowering sprays in large gardens as free-standing, scrambling bush, or as vine with support. Also suitable for silver-themed gardens. 
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General
Thematic Landscaping Silver Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Pruning Prune after flowering to contain and shape the plant, but avoid excessive pruning which removes stem tips where flowers are produced.
Diseases May be affected by scale insects. Control by spraying with malathion, white summer soil or dimethoate.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Air-Layering
Maintenance Requirements Remarks Young plants need shade for their roots.
Propagation Method Remarks Cuttings can be obtained from semi-woody or woody stems.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Silver / Grey
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose, Papery, Raised / Sunken Veins
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Acuminate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse, Cordate
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody, Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Silver / Grey, White
Flower Size - Remarks Actual flowers small and inconspicuous; Bracts 2.5cm long.
Inflorescence Type Cyme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Drupe

Image Repository



Master ID 84
Species ID 1380
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 September 2020.

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