Cardinal's Guard
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Cardinal's Guard
ntroduced Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Cardinal's Guard
Botanical name: Pachystachys spicata    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Justicia spicata, Pachystachys coccinea, Pachystachys riedeliana

Cardinal's Guard is a shrub, growing up to 2 m tall, native to South America. Oppositely arranged leaves are elliptic to inverted-lanceshaped, 10-30 cm long. Stunning red flowers are borne in a dense spike, at the end of the branches, with a green overlapping bract below each flower. Flowers are tubular, curved, strongly 2-lipped, 5-6 cm long, with 2 protruding long stamens. Upper lip is narrow and the lower one is deeply 3-lobed. This plant is propagated by cuttings.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai.
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