Bush clockvine

Bush clockvineThunbergia erecta (Acanthaceae) Characteristics Erect, evergreen shrub, up to 2 m tall. Leaves small, ovate, dark green, opposite. Thin, brown stems. Flowers slightly fragrant, dark blue to purple, yellow throat. Grows in full sun to partial shade. Distribution Native to Western Africa, but commonly cultivated in India and other tropical and subtropical regions as…

Peregrina

PeregrinaJatropha integerrima (Euphorbiaceae) Characteristics Ornamental, evergreen, rounded or narrow domed, succulent shrub or small tree, up to 4 m tall. In cultivation usually smaller. Grows in frost-free climates. Leaves glossy-green, lobed to oval. Clusters of scarlet flowers with bright yellow stamens year-round. Distribution Native to Cuba, but widely grown as ornamental in many tropical and…

Sweet basil

Sweet basilOcimum basilicum (Lamiaceae) Characteristics Annual, sometimes perennial herb, 30-150 cm tall. Many varieties of the species. Used for its leaves (culinary, folk medicine), which contain a number of essential oils and are richly green and ovate, 3-11 cm long and 1-6 cm wide. Basil grows a thick, central taproot. Flowers are small and white.…

Tongue ferns

Tongue fernsElaphoglossum serpens (Dryaptoeridaceae) Characteristics Elaphoglossum is a mostly tropical fern genera with over 600 species. It is one of the most diverse genera of ferns. They feature large unlobed leaves, not unlike Asplenium, Pyrrosia (which is also called Tongue fern) or Lepisorus. In some species, the leaf is short, wide and thick and quite…

Stiff Jasmine

Stiff JasmineJasminum simplicifolium (Oleaceae) Characteristics Distribution Natural Medicine Properties No known. Did you know? Further reading: Here Literature World Flora Online WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families A working list of all plant species www.worldfloraonline.org www.wcsp.science.kew.org www.theplantlist.org

Pineapple

PineappleAnanus comosus (Bromeliaceae) Characteristics Small, herbaceous, perennial shrub, up to 1.5 m tall. Short, stocky stem with tough, waxy leaves. Unpollinated flowers (up to 200) fuse to form a multiple fruit. The fruit of a pineapple is usually arranged in two interlocking helices. Typically, there are 8 helices in one direction and 13 in the…

Sugarcane

SugarcaneSaccharum officinarum (Poaceae) Characteristics Perennial grass, 2-6 m tall, about 5 cm in diameter. It has stout, jointed fibrous stalks that are rich in sucrose, which accumulates in the stalk internodes. Sugarcane accounts for 79% of sugar produced; most of the rest is made from sugar beets. Distribution Native to the warm temperate to tropical…

Shield aralia

Shield araliaPolyscias scutellaria (Araliaceae) Characteristics Tropical shrub, 2-6 m tall. Thick trunk. Leaves 1- or 2-pinnate, rounded or oval, toothed or sometimes cut. Tiny flowers occur in erect panicles of umbels. Shield aralia is often used to form bonsai. It grows best in moderately humid environments with no direct sun-light and adapts rather well indoors.…

Red flag bush

Red flag bushMussaenda erythrophylla (Rubiaceae) Characteristics Evergreen shrub, up to 10 m tall (but is kept compact under cultivation). The bracts may have different shades, including red, rose, white and pale pink. It grows best in warmly temperate or subtropical areas and is semi-deciduous in cooler parts. The star-like flowers are 10 mm in diameter.…

White leadtree

White leadtreeLeucaena leucocephala (Fabaceae) Characteristics Small, fast-growing tree. Used for a variety of purposes, such as fencing, soil fertility (N-Fixation), firewood (high biomass production), fiber and livestock fodder (high protein content). During the 1970s and 1980s, it was promoted as a “miracle tree” for its multiple uses. However, it has also been described as a…