Some plants are well named in terms of the descriptiveness of both their scientific and common names. Dischidia ovata is one of them. The leaves are clearly the epitome of ‘ovate-ness’ and the common name, Watermelon Dischidia, alludes to the resemblance of the decorative leaf surface pattern to that of the surface of a watermelon. The potential for this plant as an ornamental is definitely under-explored.
This plant belongs to the Periwinkle family (Apocynaceae) and was in fact previously in the Milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae), a family which has now become part of the Apocynaceae. The distinctive traits of the vines of that family are of course the opposite leaves and milky exudate when stems are injured. For general like Hoya and Dischidia, a generous succulence in the leaves is sometimes also an additional trait. In general, this plant looks like a small Hoya but the somewhat urn-shaped flowers of Dischidia immediately distinguishes it from that genus. I must confess I was fortunate to see this plant in flower in the Cairns Botanical Gardens. I have not yet been blessed to see it in the wild.