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Crossandra infundibuliformis


Crossandra infundibuliformis (L.) Nees

Family Name: Acanthaceae
Synonyms: Justicia infundibuliformis, Crossandra undulaefolia
Common Name: Firecracker Flower, Firecracker Plant, Crossandra, 半边黄, 鸟尾花


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.3 m to 1 m


Native Distribution India, Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is an erect, evergreen, low shrub of up to 1 m tall. 
Foliage Leaves are narrowly ovate to lanceolate (8 - 13 cm long). They droop slightly and occur in whorls of 3 - 4. 
Flowers Flowers are salverform; each flower has a thin tube (2.5 cm long) with 5 lobes (2 - 4 cm wide) that are perpendicular to the tube. The throat may be red or yellow. They are arranged in terminal inflorescences. Below the flowers, green, leaf-like bracts are arranged like a head of wheat. The bracts are covered in soft, white hairs. Flowering occurs throughout the year. 
Fruits Fruits are ellipsoid to oblong (1 cm long) and each contains 4 round seeds. They are classifed as capsules. Capsules are dry, dehiscent fruits. 
Habitat It occurs in the foothills at altitudes of up to 1300 m. 
Cultivation Plant in fertile soil enriched with organic matter and having good drainage. It is sensitive to overwatering and waterlogged sites. Allow the soil to dry before re-watering. Prune the plants to keep their height low, or the plants will develop a sprawling habit. Remove the brown seed pods and fertilize regularly to promote continuous flowering and healthy green leaves. It is susceptible to scale insects and spider mites. Indoor plants should be fed biweekly with a half-diluted general fertilizer. 
Etymology The genus name "Crossandra" is derived from 2 Greek words, "krossos" meaning fringe and "andros" meaning male. The reference is to the fringe of hairs on the male stamens in many species of this genus. The specific epithet "infundibuliformis" means trumpet-shaped, or funnel-shaped which refers to the flower shape. The common name "Firecracker Plant" refers to how mature capsules will explosively dehisce when touched with a moist finger.
Ethnobotanical Uses Cultural / Religious ( The plant is planted around temples for decoration.)
[Others]: In India and Sri Lanka, the flowers are combined with jasmine flowers to adorn women hair.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This species makes a colourful ground cover, low hedge or bedding plant. The flowers will add bright colour to partially shady areas. It also has an interesting contrast in texture. The flowers have a soft appearance, while the glossy leaves seem hard in comparison. Consider planting this species next to ferns, impatiens or caladiums. 
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Container Planting

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Diseases Scale insects, spider mites
Pest(s) Associated with, Sucking Insects
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Whorled
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Orange
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Salverform
Flower Size - Remarks 4 - 4.5 cm
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 589
Species ID 1884
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: 06 March 2023.