Garden Croton

Garden CrotonCodiaeum variegatum (Euphorbiaceae) Characteristics Tropical, evergreen, monoecious (male and female flowers) shrub, up to 3 m tall. Leaves large, thick, leathery, shiny, alternate, 5-30 cm long and 0.5-8 cm wide, colored green, yellow or purple in various patterns, depending on the variety. When cut, the stems bleed a milky sap. Distribution Native to Indonesia,…

Palm Lily

Palm lilyCordyline fruticosa (Asparagaceae) Characteristics Evergreen, palm-like, woody plant, up to 3 m tall. Fan-like and spirally arranged cluster of broadly elongated leaves at the tip of the slender trunk. Numerous color variations, ranging from red to green to variegated forms. Yellowish to red flowers that mature into red berries. The plant is of great…

Parrot flower

Parrot FlowerHeliconia cf. psittacorum (Heliconiaceae) Characteristics Erect, evergreen, perennial herb, up to 2 m tall. Leaves with prominent central nervation. Pseudostems (formed by the leaf sheaths) emerge from underground rhizomes. The inflorescence (cluster of flowers) range in colourful hues of yellow, orange and red. The inflorescence consists of brightly colored, waxy bracts (special leaves at…

Spider Lily

Spider LillyHymenocallis tubiflora (Amaryllidaceae) Characteristics Bulbous, perennial herb, up to 70 cm tall. Bulb up to 10 cm in diameter. Flowers large, white, vanilla scented. Each flower’s tube is 14 cm or longer. Distribution Native to warmer coastal regions of Latin America and widely cultivated and naturalized in many tropical countries. Natural Medical  Properties The…

Noni (English) Kura (Fiji)

Noni (English) Kura (Fiji)Morinda citrifolia (Rubiaceae) Characteristics Tree, up to 9 m tall. Leaves large, simple, opposite, dark green, shiny and deeply veined. Flowers and fruits all year round. Botanically, the fruit is a multiple fruit, 10-18 cm long, very strong vomit-like smell (to attract fruit bats for seed dispersal). At first green, the fruit…

Copperleaf

CopperleafAcalypha hispida(Euphorbiaceae) Characteristics Evergreen shrub, up to 3 m tall. Closely arranged stem with many branches. Both branches and leaves are covered in fine hairs. Leaves coppery green with red splashes, flat or crinkled, with teeth around the edge, 10-20 cm long and 15 cm wide. Monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same…

Asiatic pennywort/Gotu Kola

Asiatic pennywort/Gotu KolaCentella asiatica (Apiaceae) Characteristics Herbaceous, frost-tender, perennial plant. Stolons and rhizomes, connecting plants to each other. Flowers (< 3 mm) white, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. The crop matures in three month and the whole plant (including the roots) is harvested manually. Distribution Native to the…

Beach Hibiscus

Beach HibiscusHibiscus tiliaceus (Malvaceae) Characteristics Tree, up to 10 m tall. Flowers bright yellow with a deep red center upon opening. Over the course of the day, the flowers deepen to orange and finally red before they fall. Leaves heart-shaped. “Beach Hibiscus” is commonly found growing on beaches, by rivers and in mangrove swamps. It…

Tamarind

TamarindTamarindus indica (Fabaceae) Characteristics Long-lived tree, up to 18 m. Crown with dense foliage. Grows well in full sun. It prefers clay, loam, sand and acidic soil types, with a high resistance to drought and aerosol salt (wind-borne salt as found in coastal areas). Leaves evergreen, alternate, pinnately lobed. Red and yellow flowers, 2.5 cm…

Chinese Hibiscus

HibiscusHibiscus rosa-senensis (Malvaceae) Characteristics Bushy, evergreen shrub or small tree, up to 5 m. Glossy leaves and solitary, brilliant red flowers. 5-petaled flowers are 10 cm in diameter, with prominent orange-tipped red anthers. Despite its size and red hues, which are attractive to nectarivore birds, it is not visited regularly by hummingbirds when grown in…