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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
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Ornamental Flowers Woody Herbaceous

Name

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

Classifications and Characteristics

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

Biogeography

Native Distribution India, Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic (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)
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.
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