T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Plumbago auriculata (Plumbago)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Plumbaginaceae
Genus: Plumbago
Species: P. auriculata
Binomial name: Plumbago auriculata
Synonym: Plumbago capensis
Common name: Plumbago, Cape leadwort, Cape plumbago

Plumbago auriculata is a species of scrambling shrub in the family Plumbaginaceae. It is native to the southern Cape, Eastern Cape and into KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Plumbago is now found in gardens all over the world. 
This plant has the potential to become invasive. It will create a dense thicket and its weight will crush or overwhelm any plant next to it. Its roots will spread approaching on adjacent properties.

It is an evergreen shrub, often grown as a climber, ascending rapidly to 6 m tall by 3 m wide in nature, though it can be much smaller when cultivated as a houseplant. It has short terminal racemes of long-tubed, sticky flowers with 5 spreading lobes. The flowers which are 15mm across vary in colour, from baby blue, to white at one extreme and much darker blue at the other. 
The simple up to 5 cm long, spoon-shaped leaves are a glossy green and have minute gland dots. They grow. The leaf stalk is winged at the base and it clasps the stem. The undersides of the leaves are greyish green and sometimes they are covered in whitish scales; these are apparently for light reflection.

Dermatitis: The sap of these plant may cause a skin rash or irritation.