Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Lipstick plant

Well, how ridiculous is that?  TPP is in the tropics and he allows a Friday to sneak by without posting a flower picture! So here you go.  This plant has several nicknames, but the most common one is lipstick plant (Psychotria elata) in the Rubiaceae (coffee family).  Up in the northern temperate zone this is not an important or common family, but down here in the neotropics rubiads are everywhere.  There are over 45 genera here at the field station and more than a couple of dozen species in the genus Psychotria.  Most of them have fairly small white or yellowish tubular flowers, and not very conspicuous, so like many such plants, the flowers are surrounded by pairs of very conspicuous red bracts.  The bracts persist into the fruit stage surrounding the several sky-blue berries. Several flowers have already bloomed and several more fuzzy buds indicate it will flower for several more days.

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