CLOCK – VINE FAMILY
Acanthaceae includes approximately 256 genera of perennial herbs, shrubs, and climbers, which are widely distributed in warm tem- perate an tropical regions. Leaves are in opposite pairs, often at right angles to the pair above and below (decussate) an stems are often 4 – angled. Flowers are bisexual and bi – laterally symmetrical. The sepals and petals are fused at their bases. Upper and lower petals are some- times elongated into lips. Bracts are often more showy than the tu- bular on funnel- shapdd flowers. The fruit in a dry capsule that, in cenrtain species, opens explosively to scatter the seed. The shrubby species described here can be used to create informal nat – ural beds in the English perennial garden style or may be lightly clipped as specimen plants or hedges. Most are suitable for con- tainers. For those that require even moisture, a thick layer of mulch greathly reduces the amount of irri – gation needed.
Megaskepasma includes a single species of shrub from Venezuala. The shrub’s name may look intimidating but it is highly descriptive: the genus name means”large covering” and the species name means”red bracts” Surprisingly underutilized, this plant’s medium size and dense, upright habit make it suitable for informal privacy screening or hedging with minimal maintenance. Mulching helps maintain even moisture and reduce the frequency of irrigation. The species is not known to produce seed in cultivation and is usually propagated from root suckers.
Venezuela. Evergreen shrub, 8-12 ft, zones 9-11. Blooms intermittently in warm months. Regular moisture . When hot, less when cool. Average, well – drained deep soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: tubular, 2 lipped, white to pink, short – lived, opening a few at a time, bracts showy, magenta.long – lasting in erect, terminal spikes to 1 ft. tall. Leaves: elliptic to ovate, to 10 in.long. often inaccurately referred to as ” Brazilian” red cloak.