Family: Acanthaceae
Common Name: Brazilian Red Cloak

There is only one species in this genus, an evergreen shrub from Venezuela. Sometimes grown in warm regions such as Florida.


M. erythrochlarmys is an evergreen shrub which grows 2-3 m (6-10 ft) high. It has strongly veined, opposite leaves and, from early autumn to winter, bears upright spikes of white to pale pink flowers, surrounded by rich crimson bracts. The crimson bracts persist for many weeks, long after the flowers have fallen.


Outside the tropics or subtropics, grow in a warm greenhouse in pots of soil-based potting compost. The plant needs maximum light but should be shaded from direct strong sun. A very humid atmosphere is essential. Be sparing with water in winter, but water regularly in the growing season. Prune lightly after flowering to maintain a shapely specimen. Outdoors grow in dappled shade and humus rich, well-drained soil. Propagate in spring from seed germinated at 21°C (70°F), or from semi-ripe cuttings in the summer, rooting them in a heated propagating case.


Tropical, but should flourish in warmer parts of zone 10.

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Climate zone map
Medlar      Melaleuca