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Petalidium Bracteatum

   (Family: Acanthaceae)
Afrikaans: Ruacana rooibekkiebos English: Ruacana petalidium  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Spread: 2m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Flowering time EDIT
x x x x x             x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Flower info
  Dark red tubular flowers carried in characteristic, short, compact axilliary racemes up to 40 mm long. It flowers for most of the summer months but more so during late summer and autumn. The young buds (4-12-flowered) are protected by layers of large, persistent (imbricate) bracts. The 5-lobed, tubular flowers are characteristically curved; the tube is about 25 mm long; the lobes are dark red; the stamens are fused to the throat of the flower but free at the ends and just protruding.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf size 50 - 50mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Its leaves are spreading, and carried in opposite pairs (decussate), are broadly egg-shaped and typically heart-shaped at the base. The leaves can grow to 50 mm long and about the same diameter, on petioles up to 10 mm long.
Fruit type EDIT
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruit is a hygroscopic capsule and the seeds are released explosively during a shower of rain.
Description EDIT
A moderately branched and slightly aromatic shrub up to 2 m tall with striking dark red tubular flowers.
Growing EDIT
Fast and easy to grow.
Taking its natural habitat into consideration it is best grown in dry, warm and frost-free areas. Where frost is not too severe, the plants should resprout after damage.
Distribution EDIT
North to central Namibia from above the western escarpment to Etosha in the east, occurring in dry savanna (bushveld). It is very probable that the plant also occurs in southern Angola.
History EDIT
Petalidium is derived from the Greek petalon, which is a leaf or petal and probably pertaining to its leaf-like bracts. The species name bracteatum refers to the large overlapping bracts arranged like tiles on a roof (imbricate).
Ecology EDIT
It grows as a pioneer on disturbed soil especially along the road margin.
Large, tubular, bright-flowering plants rich in nectar are usually an adaptation to attract sunbirds.
The slight aromatic nature of the plant is a chemical defence and it is relatively free from insects.
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