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Ruellia Plant

Ruellia Plant

Ruellia Plant

Ruellias are popular ornamental plants. Some are used as medicinal plants, but many are known or suspected to be poisonous. Their leaves are food for the caterpillars of several Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), typically Nymphalinae and in particular members of their tribe Junoniini, such as the larvae of the banded peacock (Anartia fatima). Nymphalinae using Ruellia as host plants include the common buckeye (Junonia coenia), recorded on R. nodiflora, the lemon pansy (Junonia lemonias), recorded on R. tuberosa, and the malachite butterfly (Siproeta stelenes) and Australian lurcher (Yoma sabina), which are recorded on several species.

Plant

Ruellia simplex is native to Mexico, the West Indies, western Bolivia, southwestern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northeastern Argentina. It has been widely used as an ornamental plant and has escaped from cultivation in the United States, Australia and parts of Asia, as well as several Pacific Islands. It has become invasive in some of these areas, forming dense, single-species stands of vegetation which threaten native plants. It is mainly a plant of wet places such as ditches, pond verges, lakesides and marshes, but can survive in drier conditions. Ruellia squarrosa (Water Bluebell) is a low-growing, frost tender perennial with petunia-like, crepe-paper, violet-blue flowers in summer and ruffled, willowy, dark purplish-green leaves. Favored by water gardeners, it is often grown as an aquatic plant in water gardens or small ponds. It also does fine in a rather dry garden and can be grown as a groundcover.

Ruellia brittoniana (Mexican Petunia) is a shrubby perennial boasting a profusion of petunia-like, vibrant lavender-blue flowers, 2 in. across (5 cm), from midsummer to fall. Borne solitary or in clusters at the tips of purplish stems, they rise above the foliage of lance-shaped, glossy green leaves. Very showy, they are attractive to butterflies, bees and other pollinators. They give way to bean-like pods which explosively dehisce mature seed in all directions. Tough as nails, Mexican Petunia tolerates heat, humidity and drought. However, the fact that this plant is a survivor can become an issue in some areas. In warm and moist climates and unmanaged areas, it can be invasive. It reseeds readily and spreads by stolons, making its removal challenging. However, in areas where it is not winter hardy (Zones 3-7), Mexican Petunia makes an excellent annual plant. Performs best in full sun or part shade in medium to wet soils. This plant can withstand both wet and drought conditions, full sun and shade. Can be grown in wet soils, along with other bog plants, and can be planted in water up to 6 in. (15 cm) deep. (Source: www.gardenia.net)

 

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