Field of Science

Help with plant identification

Arjhay, a reader, needs help identifying a plant, actually just a plant image, a not very good image, so why expect flowers, and it's an exotic ornamental to boot, so it could be from anywhere.  Oh, TPP loves a challenge.  Arjhay wondered if this was mislabelled as "codiaeum croton"?  Yes, it most definitely is not a croton (Codiaeum variegatum).  That's a fun genus though what with one each of the 5 vowels (approximately koh-dee-aye-uhm).  Back to the plant image.  Firstly, notice the opposite leaves and the rather substantial nodes.  That helped narrow it down, and truly reject the croton, but it still took a day for the memory to click and send TPP looking in the right direction.  First reaction was a purple basil, but it's not minty enough (untoothed leaf margins), and hard to judge scent from an image.  Maybe some sort of Acanth, but that didn't seem quite right.  Ah, yes, an ornamental Amaranth, and don't ask me how that idea came to me.  So my best guess, well-educated, but a guess nonetheless, is Iresine diffusa, the aptly named bloodleaf, but really it's too purple, wine leaf would be better.  As you might guess based on the family, the floral display is not the reason people grow this plant, and it has not been common as a house plant for quite awhile now. TPP can't remember the last time he saw this plant.  Anyone out there with a better guess?  Does this seem right to the hive mind?


mr_subjunctive said...

Iresine herbstii would be my guess. As far as I know, it's the only Iresine commonly grown indoors.

The Phytophactor said...

mr_s, is it growing indoors? Background makes it look like a bedding plant for a much warmer climate, but another of the many unknowns.

mr_subjunctive said...

Oops. Well, my guess doesn't really change if it's an outdoor picture. As far as I know I. herbstii is the only Iresine in wide cultivation at all, in or out, and the Iresine I had for a while was a variety specifically sold as an outdoor annual, so I know they're sold for outdoor use.

I couldn't swear that that's I. herbstii, not being familiar with the other members of the genus, but the I. herbstii I had looked exactly like that when I grew it inside (outdoors, the leaves were bigger, and the color difference between the leaves and veins more pronounced), and if the questioner bought it from a regular old garden center or inherited it from a previous owner, I'd say the odds favor I. herbstii pretty heavily.