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Aeschynanthus pulcher (Blume) G.Don

Family Name: Gesneriaceae
Synonyms: Aeschynanthus lobbianus, Aeschynanthus parvifolius
Common Name: Lipstick Plant, 口红花

Aeschynanthus pulcher is our native epiphyte that boasts clusters of bright red buds emerging from the dark maroon tubular calyx, hence the common name Lipstick Plant. This plant enjoys being under semi-shade on well-drained soils in hanging baskets, a great addition as indoor plant!

Semi Shade Moderate Water Occasional Misting Bird-Attracting Plant Native to Singapore Suitable for Hanging Baskets Indoor Plant Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Leaves Climber, Vine and Liana Epiphyte

Name

Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Synonyms
Common Names
Comments
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Epiphyte, Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.5 m to 1 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.1 m to 0.5 m

Biogeography

Native Distribution Thailand, Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Sarawak & Kalimantan
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Presumed Nationally Extinct (NEx))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A herbaceous trailing shrub or epiphyte, can also be a lithophyte.
Foliage Thick, fleshy leaves are elliptic or ovate with smooth leaf edges. They are oppositely arranged in pairs along long trailing stems. Leaves are smooth on the upper surface, with rarely sparsely pubescent on the undersides. Petiole 1-3 (sometimes up to 6) mm long. Leaf blades are dark green to purple, apex rounded to acuminate, base subcordate to cuneate.
Stems Dark purple to green, sparsely hairy to smooth.
Flowers Bright red, tubular flowers are surrounded at the base by a dark red to maroon tubular calyx (collective group of sepals that forms the outermost layer of the flower). The outer surface of the calyx and corolla (collective group of petals which are fused together to form a tube in this species) are densely covered in short, white hairs. The flowers are vertically oriented and arranged in small clusters at the stem tips. 
Fruits Fruit are capsule, 18–40 cm long and 2–4 mm wide.
Habitat Found on rocks or tree branches. It is most common in lower montane forest, and sometimes in lowland, hill dipterocarp or upper montane forest, in peat swamp forest or in forest on quartzite or sandstone, at 0–2100 m altitude.
Similar It has close resemblance to Aeschynanthus radicans. Aeschynanthus radicans can be distinguished by the hairs on the ovary, Aeschynanthus pulcher's ovary is smooth.
Cultivation Grow in soil mix with good drainage and aeration, and plant best grown under semi-shade or bright filtered light condition. Allow top portion of media (about 1 quarter of the pot) to dry before watering. Stems can be pruned to promote bushiness and create more blooms. The cuttings can be used for propagation. Place the cut end of the stem into the moist soil, and place pot in a warm location where it receives bright, indirect sunlight.
Etymology The genus Aeschynanthus is from the Greek words aischune meaning shame and anthos meaning flower referring to the red flowers. The species epithet pulcher means beautiful.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Commonly cultivated in hanging baskets for it's attractive lipstick-like clusters of flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Hanging Basket, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Flowers)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Vertebrates (Bird))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water, Occasional Misting
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Stem Cutting

Foliar

Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Thick
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Acuminate, Rounded
Foliar Base Cuneate, Acute

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule
Seed Description Grain, measuring 0.6–0.9 × 0.2–0.3 mm, papillose.

References

References

Wiguna Rahman (2011) Flower biology of four epiphytic Malesian Gesneriads. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 63(1 & 2): 485–493. 2011 

D.J. Middleton (2016) A revision of Aeschynanthus (Gesneriaceae) in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 68(1): 1–63. 2016


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Master ID 2
Species ID 1298
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 June 2022.
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