This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, curved; referring to the prominent protuberance at the base of the calyx-tube). Lythrdceae. Mostly small greenhouse and conservatory plants.
Plants often clammy: leaves opposite, rarely whorled or alternate, ovate, lanceolate, or linear, entire: the flowers are often borne in 1-sided racemes, and some of the species have a very odd look from the bold angle made by the slender ascending pedicel and the descending calyx-tube, with an odd projection at the base. - An exceedingly interesting genus of 200 species of tropical and subtropical American herbs and shrubby plants, with remarkable variations in the petals. In C. ignea, perhaps the most attractive of the group, the petals are entirely absent, and the showy part is the brilliantly colored calyx-tube. At the other extreme is C. hyssopi-folia with 6 petals (the normal number in the genus), and all of equal size. Between these two extremes (shown in Figs. 1143 and 1145) are at least two well-marked intermediate types. One of these (exemplified in C. pro-cumbens) has 2 large and 4 small petals: the other (C. Llavea) has 2 conspicuous petals and the other 4 are completely abortive. These two types are unique among garden plants.
The series of intergradient forms is completed by C. cyanea, in which there are only 2 petals, and these minute, and C. micro-petala in which there are 12 barely visible petals, alternating with and shorter than the calyx-teeth. In addition to the species described below, C. Hookeriana, Walp., is cult, as C. Roezlii, Carr. It has lanceolate leaves, with vermilion and orange calyx. R.H. 1877: 470. According to many American botanists, the correct name for these plants is Parsonsia, Cuphea applying only to another widely separated genus.
Nearly all cupheas are grown from seed and treated as tender annuals, but C. ignea is chiefly propagated by cuttings. They are of easy culture, and the whole series is worth growing.
(C. eminens, Planch. & Lind.). stem shrubby, more or less branched, 1-2 ft. high: branches and calyx scabrous: leaves oblong-lanceolate, acute at both ends, but without a distinct petiole, rigid, scabrous: flowers borne singly in succession at a point above the axils, which distinguishes this species from all others here described; petals 6, minute, borne between the calyx-teeth, and shorter than them; calyx 12-toothed, scarlet at the base, yellow towards the top, greenish at the mouth; stamens and filaments red; ovary 2-celled, many-seeded. Mex. HBK. Nov. Gen. Sp. 6, p. 209, t. 551. R.H. 1857, p. 151. F.S. 10:994. -The picture first cited shows a 1-sided raceme, the second a panicle and the third a common raceme. In this species the calyx-tube is the attractive portion, while the petals are inconspicuous. The tube is not 2-lipped, but almost regular. See page 3567.
aa. Petals 6, all conspicuous, but 2 of them much larger than the others.
(C. Zimpanii, Roezl). An erect sticky annual, 3-4 ft. high, the branches stout, purplish green: leaves petiolate, opposite and alternate, 3/4-3 in. long, entire: flowers axillary, solitary, purple or reddish purple, often deflexed; stamens hardly longer than the petals. Sept., Oct. B.M. 6412. - A good, showy herbaceous border plant.
Annual, herbaceous, 1 ft. high, procumbent, sticky-pubescent, with characteristic purplish hairs: leaves ovate-lanceolate, with white hairs, 1 1/2r 3 in. long, gradually decreasing in size until they become bract-like; petiole short: flowers numerous, peduncles longer than the petioles, 2 or 3 times shorter than the calyx; calyx 6-toothed, purplish at the base, green at the tip, with 12 raised streaks, and a pubescence like that of the stem; petals 6, the 2 larger ones on the upper lip of the calyx purple; filaments included. Mex. B.R.
182. C. purpurea, Hort. F.S. 4:412. R.B. 22:85, said to be a hybrid between C. miniata and C. viscossima, is probably not distinct.
Perennial and somewhat woody, usually procumbent: leaves lanceolate, ciliate, 1-2 in. long: flowers purple, the calyx 3/4in. long, colored; stamens 11, the filaments unequal. In sandy plains. Mex. -A useful plant S.
aaa. Petals 6, all of the same size.
Fig. 1143. stem shrubby: branches numerous, strigose: leaves lanceolate, rather acute, obtuse at the base, glabrous above, strigose-pilose along the midrib and veins, as may be seen with a hand-lens: flowers with their slender pedicels scarcely longer than the leaves; calyx glabrous; petals 6, somewhat unequal, dilute violet; stamens 11, included; filaments villous; ovary 5-6-seeded. Mex. - This is the least attractive of the species here described, and is no longer advertised, but it probably still lingers in conservatories. It is readily distinguished from its showier relatives by its much smaller leaves (less than 1/2in. long) and much-branched and woody appearance.
Fig. 1143. Cuphea hyssopifolia. (X 1/2) a. Petals 6, but very minute and inconspicuous.
aaaa. Petals normally 2, the other 4 abortive.
b. Size of petals very small, less than half as long as the calyx.
(C strigulbsa, Hort., not HBK. C. Galleottiana, Hort.). stem herbaceous, erect: branchlets hispid: leaves opposite, stalked, ovate, cordate, acuminate, villous on both sides: peduncles alternate, racemose; calyx slightly hispid, scarlet at the base, yellow at the top; petals 2, clawed, spatulate; anthers and petals violet-blue. Mex. B.R. 32:14 (as C. strigillosa, Lindl.) F.S. 1:15 and P.M. 11:241 as C. strigulosa, but neither of these plates is the C. strigulosa, HBK., which is a different species, with a shrubby stem: branches and calyx clammy-hispid: leaves ovate-oblong, acute at both ends, clammy, glabrous above, strigose-scabrous below: petals nearly equal; ovary about 8-ovuled.
bb. Size of petals larger, half as long as the calyx or longer, c. Calyx 6-toothed.
Red-White-and-Bltte Flower. Fig. 1144. stems numerous, herbaceous, hispid: branches ascending: leaves almost sessile, especially near the top, ovate-lanceolate, strigose: racemes short, few-fid.; calyx green on the ventral side, purple on the back and at the oblique-6-toothed mouth; petals 2, large, scarlet, obovate, the other 4 abortive; stamens 11. Guatemala. B.R. 1386. J.H. III. 31:305. - It is doubtful whether the plant described by Lindley is the same as the Mexican plant originally described by Lexarza, which was said to have petals of "dilute scarlet." Lindley's plant had a green calyx, but the plant in the trade is colored. Used for baskets and bedding. Often misspelled Llavse.
Fig. 1144. Cuphea Llavea. (Natural size)
cc. Calyx 12-toothed.
stem shrubby, erect: branches few, hispid: leaves opposite, the upper ones not quite opposite, with a very short petiole, ovate, acute, entire, with white, silky hairs which are denser beneath: flowers solitary, subsessile, axillary, the peduncle adnate to the branch in such a way as to appear between and below the petioles; raceme few-flowered, 1-sided. F.S. 2:73. P.M. 14:101. R.H. 1845: 225. R.B. 22:85. variety alba, Hort. A white-flowered variety. variety compacta, Hort. S.H. 2:43. Gt. 46, p. 637. - This is referred to C. Llavea of Lexarza, by Index Kewensis. The above description is from the original in F.S. 2:73. Van Houtte describes several hybrid varieties in F.S. 5, p. 487, which differ chiefly in size, color, and marking of petals. Calyx 1 in. long, hispid, green at the base, purple above, 12-toothed at the tip; petals 2, scarlet, wavy. The specific name miniata means cinnabar-red, and refers to the petals.
aaaaa. Petals 0.
(C. platycentra, Hort., not Benth.). Fig. 1145. Branches somewhat angled: leaves petioled, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, narrowed at the base, lightly scabrous: flower-stalks 2-4 times longer than the If -stalks; calyx glabrous, shortly 6-toothed, bright red except at the tip, which has a dark ring and a white mouth; petals 0; stamens 11 or 12, glabrous. Mex. F.S. 2:180. P.M. 13:267. - This is still sold as C. platycentra, although De Candolle corrected the error in 1849 (F.S. 5:500 c). This is a remarkable instance of the persistence of erroneous trade names.
Fig. 1145. Cuphea ignea. (X 1/3)