Queen’s Wreath, Petrea volubilis is indigenous to tropical America and has been introduced to the Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It flourishes as a woody climbing vine with rough and dryish-feeling leaves that favors tall trees in sunny areas.
When in bloom it drapes dramatic foot-long clusters of purple flowers that can envelope the host tree. The vine appears to do little damage to most trees early on but can become thick enough over the years to choke off light to the host’s leaves. Blooming can occur for just a couple weeks to several months. The flowers become silvery as they age and can create a quite attractive ground cover when freshly fallen from the vine.
Petreas in bloom attract bees, Jack Spaniards, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, bannaquits and other fertilizing creatures.
Once established, it is difficult to permanently get rid of without digging out the root. Cutting the woody, twisted stem of the vine near the earth kills the upper portions within a day or two. The vine is entwining, and easier to remove when alive by chopping from the upper extremities, downwards. Dead and dried vines become more wood-like and thus harder to disentangle or chop away from live trees, shrubs and even fencing. Roots remaining in soil can reestablish the vine days to months after cutting.