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ntroduced Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Firespike, Cardinal guard, Scarlet flame
Botanical name: Odontonema tubaeforme    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Odontonema strictum, Odontonema longifolium, Justicia tubaeformis

Firespike is attractive evergreen shrub with sparse, stiff branches that grow mostly straight up to about 6 ft tall. It has shiny dark green leaves with wavy margins and long pointed tips. The leaves are oblong, arranged opposite each other on the stem, and 4-6 in long. From late summer through winter firespike produces abundant 9-12 nn upright panicles of brilliant red tubular flowers. The individual flowers are about an inch long and two-lipped. Flowers attract butterflies. Firespike is native to open, semi-forested areas in Central America.

Identification credit: Alka Singal, Dinesh Valke Photographed in Maharashtra

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