Justicia brandegeeana

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Beloperone guttata Brandeg.[1]

Justicia brandegeeana (Mexican Shrimp Plant or Shrimp Plant) is an evergreen perennial shrub in the genus Justicia, native to Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.[1]

It grows to 1 m tall (rarely more) with spindly limbs. The leaves are oval, green, 3-7.5 cm long. The flowers are white, extending from red bracts which look a bit like a shrimp, hence the shrub's common name, shrimp flower.

The species is named after the American botanist Townshend Stith Brandegee (1843-1925); the scientific name is commonly seen mis-spelled "brandegeana".

Description

The shrimp plant, a common ornamental shrub, thrives in the shade in tropical areas and can be propagated by stem cuttings. It does best in well-drained sandy or loamy soil, but is generally low maintenance and drought-tolerant. It is also excellent as a potted house plant in cooler climates, owing to its ability to tolerate low light and some neglect. Fertilization is not required.

The shape of the shrimp plant is generally long and spindly. If trimmed back regularly, it can maintain a bushy habit and will not need support. If the branches are allowed to grow long, they will become unable to support themselves and sag towards the ground. The leaves are variegated and usually grow in clusters on the branches. As the plant receives more sun, the amount of creamy white on the speckled leaves will increase, and vice versa. The flowers emerge from bracts that form off the stems. The bracts start out white, but with more sun exposure they turn anywhere from pale pink to deep salmon. A chain of bracts will continue to grow until it falls off in most cases; thus the chains can grow anywhere from a few inches to nearly a foot in length. Flowers emerge from the bracts; usually they are long, thin, and white with speckled maroon throats.

Blooming continues for months once it has begun, then halts for a short period before starting again. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. A number of cultivars are available, with different flower bract colors, including yellow, pink and dark brick-red.

It is naturalized in Florida.

References

External links

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