Red flag bush

Mussaenda 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.

The caterpillars of the Commander (Limenitis procris), a brush-footed butterfly, utilize this species as a foodplant.

Distribution

Native to West Africa. Cultivated as ornamental plant around the world.

Natural Medical Properties

No known.

Did you know?

The red leaves are not part of the flowers but “normal”, colored leaves, so-called bracts.

Red flag bush is related (same family) to Coffee (Coffea arabica, #6).

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species