Snail vine vs. Shell vine..whats the difference?

lookingglassgarden(6/7Va)August 19, 2005


I recieved 'snail vine' in a trade. After foilage that just grew like crazy I am finally getting light pink to orange pink little single snail shaped flowers here and there and skinny green bean looking pods. I thought I would be seeing CLUSTERS of WHITE snail looking flowers. Can someone give me an opinion? Is there a difference between a snail vine and shell vine and which do I really have? Thanks!


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Vigna caracalla - Phaseolus caracalla They appear to be the same thing. They are also called snail shell vines! Perhaps that's the confusion. Someone abbreviated the common name.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 3:37PM
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is it also corkscrew vine?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 9:11PM
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cincinnata(S. Spain)

The Corkscrew vine is Vigna Caracalla - flowers perfumed, white/mauve turning cream coloured and corkscrew shaped. The Snail vine is Phaseolus Caracalla, smaller blue/mauve flowers sort of pea shaped, no scent. I have just seen the latter while on holiday in England and would love seeds if anyone wants to exchange either for the Vigna or various passionflowers.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 8:22AM
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taylor_tx(zone 8 TX)

I have some of the non-fragrant purple snail vine seeds I can trade.

Please click on my membername and email me. I don't always get back to a thread to see if there is a post...

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 11:09PM
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cincinnata, thanks for the clarifcation! i would pick fragrance.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 9:02PM
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thistle(ontario 5b)

I must admit that I am rather disappointed in my snail vine.It has grown like crazy,but the flowers are tiny.I was expecting something rather spectacular but it guess it is not to be.I have the non fragrant one,so I don't even have that as hoo

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 9:21PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I was disappointed in the show also, although the changing colors is pretty. Mine is non-fragrant also so it must be the Phaseolus Caracalla aka Snail Vine for sure.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 12:32PM
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I have the fragrant version and just like yours, plenty of leafy growth but not a single flower to date. Sorta disappointed as I have heard others rave about the plant....I do wonder if it will survive the winter as I hear some can/will??

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 9:44PM
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I have the fragrant corkscrew vine, and mine is over 20' long with about three clusters of nice-sized blooms.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 6:45PM
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Phaseolus caracalla and vigna caracalla are the same species. See eg

Different cultivars of a species can differ considerably in fragrance and appearance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Taxon: Phaseolus caracalla

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 12:49AM
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Horticulturists concur with Tim. The names are used interchangeably, but the plants perform very differently.

The fragrant one (which looks much frillier, and has different colors on each blossom) seems to have a short bloom season and be a bit fussy.

The lavender one grows here with great vigor (though it did not appreciate a week of 22*). The bloom is solid lavender, not as long and twirly, and I can't detect any fragrance at all.

The seeds are also different (explain THAT, taxonomists!)
Fragrant Corkscrew Vine has flat black seeds 1/4" across.
Lavender Snail Vine has tiny speckled brown bean-type seeds in 6" very skinny pods.

I just bought Corkscrew Vine plants on ebay and will keep them indoors over the winter. Maybe I'll discover something by spring. The foliage may look the same, but too much else is different.

The search goes on....

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 11:40PM
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I planted a snail vine last year. It didnt do much last year but this year it has gone crazy. Its pretty much taken over the backyard. I would like to know what time of year Im supposed to cut it back. Is it too hot to trim it now?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 4:27PM
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if anyone would like to trade or sell let me know ive looked for corkscrew & snail vines and i cant find them i would love to have some thanks

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Web

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 9:06PM
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The 1st pic is a Snail Vine (Phaseolus Caracalla). The 2nd is a Corkscrew Vine (Vigna Caracalla). The flowers are quite different but the foliage looks the same to me.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 9:33PM
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I would love some fragrant corkscrew vine seeds; please email me if you want to share thanks

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 12:56PM
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