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Plectranthus zuluensis

Plectranthus zuluensis


Plectranthus zuluensis is an erect or sprawling, soft shrub up to 2 m high, with much-branched, four-angled, hairy stems which are velvety to the touch when young. Soft, semi-succulent leaves are ovate with coarsely toothed margins and covered with tiny, colourless glands. The plant has a characteristic pungent smell when crushed.

Inflorescences, borne at the ends of the branchlets, are 60 to 100 mm long and bear the flowers in whorls of six. The 6 mm long calyx is saccate (wide) at the base, narrowing towards the throat, and ranges from deep purple-blue to pale blue-mauve, with six rows of mauve dots along the upper lip. This species is unusual in the genus Plectranthus as the upper pair of stamens are sterile. The main flowering time is from October to June with a peak in April. Fruit are small, dark brown nutlets.

Attractive cultivars of this species are Oribi Gorge with light purple-blue flowers, Sky, a low-growing (1 m) shrub with dark purple-blue flowers, and Umgai, a taller (2 m) shrub with dark purple-blue flowers.

Sold as 13cm pot 20 to 30cm high

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