The name is pronounced, as the
Plants database informs, "hard-en-BERG-ee-uh".
It's also known as False Sarsaparilla, Purple Coral
Pea, Happy Wanderer, Snake Vine, but I'll just call it Hardenbergia.
And add the violacea because this variety is violet (there are
other shades and a white variety).
It was named after Franziska, Countess von Hardenberg,
who was the sister of Baron Carl AA von Hugel. Franziska was apparently a
'19th century Australian patron of botany'. The
'apparently' is that's all I can find out about her.
There is a
visit recorded by Baron Charles von Hugel in 1834
and it turns out that this is the same man,
Baron Charles (Carl, Karl) Alexander Anselm von Hügel
(1795-1870) who was an "Austrian soldier,
diplomat, courtier, horticulturist and scholar" and
a botanist. (I'd hoped to find a link to an
earlier Harden namesake but other than some memory of
being told that there was a German ancestor in the
clan, the Harden's I'm descended from, probably
took their name from somewhere in the English countryside
where there was a Hare's Den.) The von Hugel story is
much more interesting. Franzika's brother
Carl features in that period of Victorian (late
where exploration was the role of gentlemen, but the Baron von Hugel
you're likely to have heard about is the theologian
called Friedrich (1852-1925).
The False Sarsaparilla name comes from a belief that
the roots were similar to sarsaparilla and could be
ground to make the syrup used for cordials. One of the
native food books says however that you can make a
drinkable scented tea from the crushed leaves.
We planted potato vine (Solanum jasminoides)
and Hardenbergia along the trellis to hide the
aluminium garage shed that replaced the hedge on the
block next door. The plants struggled, one shriveled
up and died despite the sprinkler drip system we put
in. We replanted and although we had water
restrictions, this winter's flowering has been a
delight. It's a colour to suit the foggy mornings
we've been having, the purple flowers seem to glow in
it. I'm told I have to cut them back hard in summer
but the leaves are now forming a perfect screen, so
I'll be doing it reluctantly.