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Plumbago auriculata


Plumbago auriculata Lam.

Family Name: Plumbaginaceae
Synonyms: Plumbago capensis
Common Name: Cape Leadwort, Cheraka, Cape Plumbago, Forget-Me-Not

Plumbago auriculata, also known as Cape Leadwort is a native to South Africa. This shrub features clusters of pale-blue flowers that blooms all year round. It can be grown in container planting, or in masses as hedges.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1 m


Native Distribution Cape Province of South Africa
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Scrambling shrub, able to grow up to 1 m tall and with a spread of 1 m wide.
Foliage Leaves are obovate with crenulate margins, 10 to 25mm long, thin and light green in colour. The leaf axils are winged with ear-shaped appendages at the base of each leaf (see etymology). Another salient feature is the abundant axillary growth of leaves, resulting in many leaves of varying sizes being found all over the plant, and a distinctively dense and bushy appearance even in small plants.
Flowers Flowers are pale blue, borne on rounded terminal clusters. Flowering continues throughout the year in Singapore; but only from summer through autumn in sub-tropical and warm temperate climates.
Habitat Found in thickets and disturbed sites.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Plumbago' derived from the Latin "plumbum" meaning "lead" (the metallic element). Named after a European species which was used to cure lead poisoning. Species epithet 'auriculata' from the Latin "auricula" meaning "ear", after the appendages at the base of each leaf which were deemed to be ear-shaped.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Known to be a scandent (semi-climbing) shrub in Mediterranean climates where it originates, but most often seen in the Singapore landscape as free-standing shrub masses or groundcover. It can also be used as a low hedge but requires frequent clipping. It is easy to maintain and forms a dense mass of green leaves and pale blue flowers which appear almost fluorescent when viewed in under low light. However, the flowers do not stand up well to being drenched; they also remain on the plant after they have wilted, which may result in periodic unsightliness after flowering. Suitable for borders, as underplanting or in containers. A drought tolerant plant, it prefers a bright, sunny position and well-drained soil as it does not tolerate water-logging.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Container Planting

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Drought Tolerant, Well-Drained Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Oblanceolate, Spathulate)
Foliar Venation Palmate
Foliar Margin Crenulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Obtuse, Mucronate
Foliar Base Attenuate, Auriculate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Blue
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Raceme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Daytime
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown

Image Repository



Master ID 1053
Species ID 2346
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: 19 June 2024.