Petrea volubilis; Synonym: P. kohautiana
Family: Belongs to the Verbenaceae family, which includes Teak (Tectona grandis) and Bois Lezard (Vitex divaricata).
Description: A climbing or free-standing woody shrub; free standing specimen located in lawn near office of Agriculture Division; these can achieve heights of up to 4 m (13 ft); more often rambles up trellises, fences, walls and other support, climbing to as much as 12 m (40 ft); leaves elliptical, apex and base rounded,12-20 cm long (5-8 in.) and 6-10 cm wide (2.5-4 in), opposite, leathery, grayish-green and rough, hence one common name: Sandpaper Vine; flowers bluish-purple, 3-5 cm in diameter (1-2 in.), in very showy terminal raceme inflorescences, hanging 18-26 cm long (7-10 in); calyx deeply 5-lobed; petaloid lavender sepals persist after darker purple or blue petals fall, older flowers finally turning tan; when in full bloom tree almost covered with flowers; small fruit enclosed in persistent sepals which form the wings of the mature seeds; there is also a white variety.
Natural Habitat: Moderate rainfall to humid areas of the east coast of the Eastern Caribbean islands, but hardy and drought resistant; occasional vine found in forests of Dominica; propagation from stem cuttings, layering and seed.
Origin and Distribution: Native to the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies; today widely grown throughout Caribbean, and variously in the tropics and subtropics; cultivated as landscape specimen in Dominican homes, especially on the Atlantic coast.