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Pentas lanceolata (Forssk.) Deflers

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Synonyms: Manettia lanceolata, Pseudomussaenda lanceolata, Ophiorrhiza lanceolata
Common Name: Egyptian Star-cluster, Star-cluster, Maids-of-all-work, Egyptian Star

Pentas lanceolata or commonly known as Egyptian Star-cluster is a native perennial from tropical East Africa to Southern Arabia that boasts clusters (corymbs) of striking bright red star-shaped flowers and dark green elliptic leaves.It is an attractive ornamental suitable for growing in mass for flowerbeds, or container planting and as houseplant, and attracts butterflies!

Full Sun Semi Shade Moderate Water Butterfly-Attracting Plant Ornamental Flowers Shrub


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 30 cm to 60 cm


Native Distribution Tropical East Africa to Southern Arabia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial shrub
Foliage Dark green, opposite leaves are narrowly ovate to lanceolate with entire leaf margin (8 - 14 cm long). Leaves are deeply veined and pubescent (hairy).
Flowers Star-shaped, 5-petalled flowers are 1 - 1.5 cm wide and occur in large terminal clusters known as corymbs. This species is free-flowering.
Fruits Dry, dehiscent fruits are known as capsules (4 - 5 mm long).
Associated Fauna This species is a butterfly nectar plant.
Cultivation Easy to grow and should be planted in fertile, well-drained soil that is enriched with compost and organic matter to retain soil moisture. Allow the soil to dry slightly before re-watering. This cultivar blooms best when grown in full sun, but it also flowers in shade. This plant is heat tolerant. Feed plants every month with a balanced fertilizer at half-strength. To propagate by seed, sow the seeds on the soil surface and germination will occur in 5 - 12 days.
Etymology The genus "Pentas" is derived from a Greek word that means 5 ("pente"). It may refer to the 5-petalled flowers that occur in this genus. The species epithet "lanceolata" refers to the lanceolate (lance-shaped) leaves.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Container Planting, Flowerbed / Border
Thematic Landscaping Butterfly Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Planting Distance From 50
Transplanting Tolerance Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Raised / Sunken Veins
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Raised / Sunken Veins
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base 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 Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Inflorescence Type Corymb
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Image Repository



Master ID 1940
Species ID 3232
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: 29 November 2022.