Red Ruspolia
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Red Ruspolia
E Introduced Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Red Ruspolia, Ruddy Rose, Pricklybush
Botanical name: Ruspolia hypocrateriformis    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Eranthemum hypocrateriforme, Justicia hypocrateriformis

Red Ruspolia is a fairly hardy, evergreen, scrambling woody shrub, with bright green opposite leaves that are ovate with entire leaf margin. Leaf tip may be pointed or have a drip tip. Pinwheel shaped flowers have 5 pink petals that vary slightly in size, 3 cm long, 2.5 cm wide. One of the 5 petals has a distinct red patch near the base of the petal, while the other 4 petals may or may not have similar, but smaller red markings. The tip of the petal may be rounded or slightly pointed. Flowers are arranged in a spike. Fruits are dry, explosively splitting capsules. They are elongated and flattened like a paddle with a slightly wavy margin near the sharply pointed tip. They open lengthwise to release a few disk-shaped, dark brown seeds. Butterflies are attracted to the garden by the large amount of nectar that these flowers produce. Red Ruspolia is native Zimbabwe, South Africa, cultivated as a garden plant worldwide.

Identification credit: Surajit Koley, Sunoj Kumar Photographed in cultivation in Mumbai.

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