I have been trying to identify a plant that a friend brought to Colima, Mexico some years ago from Costa Rica. It looks like it could be a Salvia and possibly a Salvia tiliifolia, although the flower color we find on the internet is blue and the flower color of this plant is a deep reddish purple. We believe the plant is native of Central America. I know the plant has a square stem and no apparent odor (although I just have a cutting with a couple of flowers, so the mother plant may be odiferous but i don't know. It is a large bushy plant, 1 meter tall +. The flowers are small. Does anyone know this plant? also, attracts butterflies. there is a close-up of the flower on the next post. I guess we can only have one photo at a time?
Thanks Lily but the flowers look very different to me and the leaves look different too. what do you think?
i looked up information about the porterweed and it is described as low growing. this plant is more than a meter tall (3.3 feet plus) so i think porterweed can be ruled out.
It definitely looks like Snake Weed, Stachytarpheta spp. They're a wide spread weed in tropical areas and one of the worst on my place. Even as small plants they send up inflorescences, flower continuously and drop seed continuously. They prefer wet, damp areas but will take over drier areas in the wet season then persist through the dry season. There's several species so you get a bit of variation in flower colour and appearance of the leaves, and height differences, from under a metre to around 2 metres. I'd just love to get rid of every last one off my place, they are a curse.
I can envision it becomes a nuisane. In temperate climate where we get frost. They will not survive. I'm keeping a red variety of this for my hummingbirds attraction. It surely does need frost protection comes winter here though. However, the blue porterweed is known to survive winter here in my zone, I do believe.
The species on my place are shades of mostly blue or purple. I understood that the pink/red species needed a colder climate, they only grow in the higher altitude wetter areas here. But I'd rather not have any. They do seem to attract the butterflies though.
It's a novelty in the garden. Thus far the pink/red blooming kind do not give me any problem here. But in tropical climate there are so many beautiful flowers to enjoy.
Thank you Lily and Noonamah. You know when i googled "porterweed", i received information and photos that did not seem to apply at all to the plant that i have. But, when i googled "snakeweed stachytarpheta", i found entirely different web sites with images very similar to what i have and also information supporting the height and the square stem so i do indeed believe that it is a stachytarpheta. apparently there are at least 65 different varieties so i don't know just what kind of stachytarpheta i have but i expect it won't be too hard to determine with a little more googling. it was very generous of you both to take the time, zone10b
Thank you Metrosideros! i looked at all the sites but all the flowers appear blue to me...look at the deep purple of the photo i submitted. the color now is what is bothering me the most because i've looked at so many images but none of them have this same deep purple flower with the curly petals. what do you think? i have read "purple" is one of the colors of this genus but haven't yet seen a photo of one. Do you suppose purple is regional? or rare?
wow you davesgarden people are great. i just started with this site and hope i can help someone one of these days in the way you have all helped me
Here, the flowers range from blue to purple.
I guess that the color could be from variety, soil nutrition, or climate (wet or dry).
The plant grows in Hawai'i in a wide range of habitats.
Try googling Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. It is an introduced species in the Philippines where it has escaped cultivation and become a weed. The flower spikes are quite attractive especially in large groupings; bees and butterflies go crazy over the flowers. However, it is difficult to control as self-seeds profusely.
I have also heard it called Jamaican Vervain in Hawaii. Used a lot in herbal medicines. I know one guy who made tea from it. Another who would crush the leaves to stop bleeding. We do not get the butterflies on it here in Hawaii but I have seen a butterflies crowd them in Samoa.
Definitely Purple Porterweed. I have both Red and Purple in my yard in South Texas. I love it. Takes all the abuse and keeps on blooming and growing. The long pods when dried on plant (they will snap off) contain thousands of seeds. You can also do from soft cuttings.
Have just come back from Malaysia and noticed this plant a lot there but it is the red flowered variety.. Butterflies like it there too.
Snakeweed is very widespread now around the world, brought into gardens because of the attracrtiveness of its flowers. But it never stays in one place.
hello elencanto...yes, my Stachytarpheta was very much the same color as your purple one. everyone seems to have a different idea of the species :). it is a good attractor of the nectar lovers. i replaced my stachy (due to limited space) with Odontonema callistachyum and verbena. The Odontonema i grew from seed and it is growing well but not yet making flowers. i am delighted with the purple top verbena, the butterflies are crazy about it...all kinds of butterflies from skippers to swallowtails...so much variety and so many and am hoping the Odontonema will have the same draw. i would say, to date, the verbena has been the biggest draw of all the nectar plants i've tried. I also have started this year Senecio confusus which is just now getting its first flowers. i hope it lives up to its reputation :).