Odontonema tubaeforme (ACANTHACEAE) Fire Spike

Weeds to Whack

Shrub or shrub-like herb, up to 2 m tall native to Mexico and Panama. An emerging weed along Enoggera waterways probably naturalised because of dumping of garden waste, but could also be spreading by seed. Also known as Cardinal Flower, Odontonema, Red Justicia. Invasive in the understory of moist forests in Samoa. Leaves elliptic, occasionally much larger on fast-growing shoots, pointed at tip. Inflorescence up to 30 cm long, narrow, rarely branched base. The flowers have a corolla 25-25 mm long, red, tubular. PlantNet records that fruits are not formed in Australia.

Photo: Robert Whyte