categoryZShrubs Shrubs List 
categoryZBroadleaf Broadleaf List 
categoryZSemievergreen Semievergreen List 

CAPE FIGWORT

Phygelius capensis

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Broadleaf
category
category8Semievergreen
status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8red
flower
flower8orange
inner
inner8orange
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZspiked
type
typeZtrumpet
stem
stem8square

10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
Grows up to 1.5m high alongside rivers, canals and any other freshwater course.


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
Flowers in an erect tiered spike from nearly-opposite pairs of short branches (this arrangement is called a panicle). Leaves have a satin sheen and are a greyish-green and are in opposite pairs, with pairs of smaller side-leaflets and a large terminal leaflet.


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
The flowers all droop downwards and a red but becoming a lighter shade of orange or pink towards the opening.


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are tubular, with a long trumpet shaped opening up at the end into 5 equal petals. The (branched) flower stalks emerge at ~right-angles to the main stem.


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have 4 purplish or deeper-red stamens with pink or violet anthers.


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
The stems are square with slight raised ribs on the 4 corners. The sepals are cut more than halfway into 5 long triangular teeth (right).


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are on fairly short stalks and ovate in shape with crenate-serrate teeth (have many quite fine sawtooth-shaped teeth which alse bend slightly upwards at their tips).


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD


10th July 2014, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
The stamens are exserted (stick out from the corolla).


It is a neophyte and broadleaf semi-evergreen shrub which is grown in gardens but can escape to the sides of fresh water such as lakes, rivers and canals. It has a long flowering season from May to November and is native to South Africa where it was used to inebriate boys in some sort of initiation ceremony.

The long tubular flowers resemble those of: Red Tobacco (Nicotiana forgetiana), Angel's-Trumpet (Datura ferox) but those flowers are white, Cigar Plant (Cuphea micropetala) but although it has a long red tube that does not escape into the wild in the UK, Californian Fuchsia (Zauschneria californica) which also has red flowers but they stick out sideways, Hedge Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) which has red flowers which hang downwards but they also have much longer petals (and only four of them) and an extra purple skirt from which the red anthers are exserted. There are many others. However, none of these have square stems!

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : A 'figwort lookee-likee but one which has long, dangling, tubular flowers which are red.

No relation to : Powell's Cape Lily (Crinum powellii), Cape Pigweed (Amaranthus capensis), Cape-pondweed (Aponogeton distachyos), Cape Cudweed (Gnaphalium undulatum), Cape Tulip (Homeria collina), Cape Marguerite (Osteospermum ecklonis), Cape Wattle (Paraserianthes lophantha) nor to Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].


  Phygelius capensis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Scrophulariaceae  

Distribution
 family8Figwort family8Scrophulariaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Phygelius
Phygelius
(Cape Figwort)

CAPE FIGWORT

Phygelius capensis

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]