Callisia fragrans (COMMELINACEAE) Basket Plant

Weeds to Whack

Perennial herb with fleshy stems, up to 10 mm long, branched, with long stolons at base, native to Mexico, often cultivated as a hanging-basket plant. Leaves clustered toward the ends of the stem, scattered below, elliptic-lanceolate, 18-25 cm long, 4 cm wide, base prominently veined, clasping, ciliate, often striped with purple. Flowers in compact pairs of cymes arranged in panicles up to 6 mm long. Prefers fertile, moist soils in a protected, partially shaded area. Weed risk high. It is not widespread but extremely aggressive and dominant in the places where it is found. Callisia from the Greek kallos meaning beauty and fragans means fragrant.

Photo: Robert Whyte