Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network

Pseuderanthemum variabile (ACANTHACEAE); Love flower, pastel flower

Image: Form and Habit
Image: Flowers and foliage
Image: Flower detail

Image: Form and Habit

Photo: Derek Boddington 2002
Small, soft perennial herb up to 30cm high with hairy stems, growing in a variety of habitats, especially rainforest and wet sclerophyll, from Bateman's Bay, NSW to Cape York, North Qld, NT; also occurs in PNG.

Leaves simple, opposite, often jointed at the base, lanceolate to ovate, dark green above, purplish below with small glandular dots, 2-10cm long x 3-50mm wide, base rounded or sometimes cordate, apex acute to obtuse; petioles 5-30mm long.

Inflorescence elongate; terminal flowers showy and up to 2cm long x 1.5cm across, tubular, on pedicels 1-8mm long; calyx 5-lobed, 4-8mm long, corolla narrow and long, abruptly expanding to 5 shortly pointed and asymmetrically arranged lobes, white, lilac or mauve, often with darker spots at the base of the lower lobe. Lower flowers on the stem usually much smaller, simplified and inconspicuous, often not opening. Flowering December to May.

Fruit a slender capsule, 10-15mm long, slightly hairy or glabrous, with few to many seeds.

Image: Flowers and foliageBack to top

Photo: Derek Boddington 2005
Makes an ideal groundcover, which will spread in a lightly shaded garden. Cuttings of roots or stems strike readily, and self-seeded plantlets can be potted up. (Note however that they can become an unwelcome addition in nearby potted plants due to their somewhat weedy nature.)

Image: Flower detailBack to top

Photo: Derek Boddington 2005
Attractant to a number of butterflies, including the Leafwing and the Varied, Danaid and Blue-banded Eggflies. (SOWN)

Pseuderanthemum from the Greek 'pseudes' meaning false and the genus Eranthemum, also in the ACANTHACEAE, which it resembles. Variabile means variable.