A solitary plant of Tecomanthe speciosa or the Three Kings vine was first discovered on the Three Kings Islands, 55 km off the northern tip of New Zealand, during a scientific survey in 1945. No other specimens have ever been found in the wild. Tecomanthe is a tropical genus not otherwise represented in New Zealand. Four other species of Tecomanthe occur in Queensland, Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
Tecomanthe speciosa is a vigorous twining climber growing up to 10m in height. The glossy, thick compound leaves consist of up to five leaflets. In autumn or early winter it bears long cream-coloured tubular flowers that emerge directly from the stem in large clusters. The flowers appear to be adapted to be pollinated by bats, despite the fact that bats are not part of the present-day fauna of the Three Kings Islands (though they may once have been present). Nevertheless, the flowers of plants growing in cultivation are readily pollinated by a large number of native and exotic birds.