Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Yellow Orchid Vine, Yellow Butterfly Vine, Gallinita
Callaeum macropterum

Family: Malpighiaceae
Genus: Callaeum
Species: macropterum (mak-roh-TER-um) (Info)

Synonym:Mascagnia macroptera

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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9 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive susieqfl On Jun 19, 2014, susieqfl from Brandon, FL wrote:

I'm having trouble finding the seeds! I've waited until the "butterfly" turns dark brown but can't figure out where the seeds are. Help!

Positive feisele On Sep 24, 2012, feisele from Tucson, AZ wrote:

PROBLEM: Planted two Callaeum macroptera vines a yr ago (zone 8b, Tucson) in desert soil, well drained, good sun 6 hrs daily, fertilized monthly. Now they are seriously wilting, some leaves yellowing and dropping.

No grub worms in soil eating roots, no bugs on leaves. If this continues, I'm afraid I'll lose them both.

Any suggestions about what to do?

Neutral Denaflower On Oct 10, 2009, Denaflower from Port Saint Joe, FL wrote:

I donot have this plant yet. I was wondering if it attracts butterflys or just looks like butterflys.

Neutral Agaveguy On May 19, 2009, Agaveguy from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Somewhat aggressive in certain conditions. Self-seeded in my woodland and has now swamped an area about 1,000 square feet, completely covering shrubs and ground, smothering most other plants. Lovely, but I have to do something to control it, or it has to go.

Positive TexasPuddyPrint On Apr 16, 2008, TexasPuddyPrint from Edinburg, TX wrote:

Planted this vine a couple of years ago and it grew quickly. Love the blooms as well as the butterfly-like seed pods :o)

Have had lots of long tendrils snaking across the ground so piled up some potting soil over parts of them. It's been about four weeks and there are lots of roots forming now. Will give them more time then pot up some cuttings.

~ Cat

Positive Minetteg On Apr 1, 2007, Minetteg from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

This vine has grown successfully in my mother's yard in Houston, TX for years. She layers it to propagate, and has given me two starter vines. It is prolific in Corpus Christi, TX! Beautiful on a trellis against a wall. Easy to care for!

Positive baburris On Dec 26, 2005, baburris from Round Rock, TX wrote:

I purchased this at Home Depot in Round Rock, Tx about 9 yrs ago and it is a beautiful vine on a fence. I did not know the name until I saw this site! After blooming in spring, summer it has the butterfly seed pods that are light green that turn copper brown in winter. I have not tried to grow from seed, but had no luck with cuttings.

Positive seedpicker_TX On Oct 11, 2004, seedpicker_TX from (Taylor) Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Seed germination can be tricky. I have had best results NOT presoaking the seeds. They draw up water too readily, and will rot easily, if pre-soaked.

I usually start with moistened soil-less mix, and then squeeze it as hard as I can, to get all the water out. The moisture that is left in the soil-less mix, is now just right (barely moist and a bit on the dry side).

Put the soil-less mix in a container with seeds, and cover. Remove and sow, as they germinate. Germination is erratic. Seeds may germinate at different intervals over a period of about a month. Some may germinate in as little as one week, and others may take up to a month.

I have also successfully Propagated this by layering. Layering is actually the fastest and easiest way to propagate this vine.


Neutral KLouise On Sep 23, 2004, KLouise from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

This is a gregarious vine. It took about 5 years to get a hold and it is now growing down fences, up trees, over lawns. I take the runners and remove the leaves on the lower 5 inches and pot them in a mix of black dirt and garden comost.I'm pretty basic. I find this works best in the late spring and summer. I have never tried to harvest the seeds but that is next. Thank's to DG for comments with instructions. I'll send some to you if you e-mail me with an address. The green seed pods if picked while green, stay green,and are beautiful in dry arrangements. I find the seed pods are very cheerful to add to get well wishes. I have even used them on package bows. ;-}

Positive ElaineC On Jun 18, 2004, ElaineC from Pompano Beach, FL wrote:

I live in South Florida and have two of these butterfly vines growing and they are very hardy and fast growing. Their flower resemble a butterfly especially when they turn brown and fall from the plant. Some people like to paint them.
I bought my plants from

Positive htop On Apr 20, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
Native to Mexico (also known as Mexican Butterfly Vine) and a member of the Barbados cherry family, Mascagnia macroptera (Synonym:Stigmaphyllon ciliatum) is really a shrub with vine-like branches. It prefers full sun to partial shade. It thrives in well-drained soil which contains a lot of humus. The bright yellow attractive blooms appear in spring and again in fall and it has unusual butterfly-shaped seedpods which change from green to a beautiful brown. Blooms and seedpods appear at the same time on the plant. Having a high heat tolerance, low water needs once established, a very vigorous growth, needing little upkeep and not being attractive to pests, it is a great plant. The one that I photographed, is living in a large container which sits on the asphalt in a parking lot. It appears to love the heat.

At first, I was collecting what looked like seeds when the blooms faded. Then, I thought that the seeds had to be in the butterfly "body"; otherwise, it would not form this structure. I use both thumbnails to pull the butterfly "body" apart. The seeds are encapsulated inside. To make sure the seed is viable, I roll it between my thumb and forefinger. If it is a "good" seed, it will not crumble. If it is an old seed or if it has been munched on by insects, it will crumble.

The plants in my locale are hard to find which is strange because it is a well known Texas plant. It can be used as a vine (with support), a flowing branched shrub, in containers and as a groundcover.

Positive tinkerbell1 On Mar 7, 2004, tinkerbell1 wrote:

I have seen the plant and yes, it looks like butterflies.
We have not been able to propagate it as of yet.
We have tried root tone on cuttings and seeds.
The lady that has it says she bought it from Home Depot but, they don't know what it is either.
The location where it is growing is near the Bay County Line in the Florida panhandle at a resturant called the Ski Inn, on old 231 N.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Antioch, California
Fullerton, California
San Clemente, California
Bartow, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Odessa, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Gonzales, Louisiana
Kentwood, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Carriere, Mississippi
Eupora, Mississippi
Moyock, North Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Jackson, South Carolina
Okatie, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Belton, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Edinburg, Texas
Friendswood, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Geronimo, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Houston, Texas
Katy, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
Marion, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Plano, Texas
Port Arthur, Texas
Rosenberg, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Vidor, Texas
Waco, Texas

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