Aphelandra pulcherrima

Primary tabs

Aphelandra pulcherrima


Shrub or suffrutescent herb to 2.5 m tall, rarely small tree to 4 m. Stem erect, sparingly branched, obscurely quadrangular toward tip, sparingly pubescent to glabrate, lower portion of stem terete, light grayish-green. Petiole 4-7 mm long, pubescence similar to primary vein; blade ovate to oblong-elliptic, 15-24 x 5-9 cm, apex short acuminate (tip itself blunt or apiculate to slightly acute), base attenuate, decurrent on the petiole, glabrous or nearly so on upper surface, glabrous to sparingly pubescent on lower surface, this mostly on primary and secondary veins, these disposed in web-like manner, upper surface drying olive, lower surface drying lighter green, margin entire, undulate or shallowly crenulate. Inflorescence terminal, spikes solitary or several in a fascicle, quadrangular, 5-7 x 0.6-0.8 cm, subsessile; rachis white-cottony-tomentose; bracts densely imbricate, rhombic-ovate, 5-7 x 4.5-6 mm, apex acute, margin entire, green, glabrous or softly pubescent dorsally, paired bracteal nectary patches lateral and submedial, composed of 1-5 discrete glands, each gland 0.25 x 0.75 mm; bracteoles lanceolate, 6-7 x 2 mm, falcate, obliquely subcarinate, puberulous without, finely striate-veined. Calyx 7-8 mm long, posterior lobe oblong, 3 mm wide, anterior pair 1.5 mm wide, lateral pair lanceolate, 2 mm wide, all striate-veined; corolla strongly bilipped, lateral lobes of lower lip much reduced, adnate to basal portion of upper lip with only their tips free, bright red or scarlet, 55-70 mm long, minutely puberulous, 3 mm wide basally, narrowed to 1.5 mm at tip of ovary, gradually enlarged and slightly ventricose, about 6 mm wide at throat, upper lip erect, narrowly ovate, 15-20 x 9 mm, bilobed, lobes narrowly triangular, 3.5-9 mm long, middle lobe of lower lip linear-oblong, 22-24 x 6-7 mm, lateral lobes 3 x 1 mm; stamens exserted about 7 mm beyond mouth of corolla tube, anthers 6-7 mm long. Ovary and style glabrous, stigma minutely bilobed. Capsule clavate, 20-22 mm long, glabrous, puncticulate; seeds reddish-brown, flat, 5 x 4 mm, glabrous or sparingly puberulous.


Guianas present, Southern America: Colombia (Colombia present); Costa Rica (Costa Rica present), Suriname present, few West Indian islands present
Costa Rica southward to Colombia also in a few West Indian islands and east to Suriname; 60 collections studied of which 12 from the Guianas (GU: 7; SU: 5).


Flowering and fruiting .


The collections mentioned by Bremekamp in the ) and Lemée (l.c. 3: 479) as A. tetragona (Vahl) Nees belong to A. pulcherrima (Jacq.) Kunth (noted by ). A. tetragona is a more western species, occurring a.o. in Venezuela and Panama.