Ruttya fruticosa

Ruttya fruticosa.

The Hummingbird plant is native to East Africa.
They are bushy perennial scrambling shrubs 2 to 3 m high and 1.5 m wide.
They have runners – thin prostrate stems that root at the nodes and tip.
Depending on the climate they are evergreen to deciduous.
The stems are much branched.

The leaves are opposite and in 4 ranks (decussate).
Around 8 (6 – 10) cm long and 4.5 cm wide they are on a short petiole.
The ovate to lance-shaped blades have a pointed tip and a smooth edge.
The base tapers and runs down the petiole.
The pinnate veins are depressed on the upper surface.
There are cystoliths (calcium carbonate on a cellulose stalk inside a cell).

Inflorescences are terminal on the main and short side branches.
The branched inflorescences have up to 8 flowers with the terminal one on each branch opening first.
There are leaf-like bracts and very small bracteoles.

The calyx has a tubular base with 5 narrow triangular lobes around 5 mm long.

The corolla is around 6 cm long and 5 cm wide at the top of the throat.
It has a tubular base and wider throat with 5 lobes up to 2.5 cm long and 1.2 cm wide.
The lobes are in 2 lips with 2 lobes in the upper lip and 3 in the lower.
The 2 erect 2 cm long lobes in the upper lip have their bases fused.
In the lower lip the middle lobe curves down and forwards.
The 2 side lobes bend back through 90 degrees so they lie beside the tube and throat.
(Flowers are also described as having 1 bi-lobed upper petal and 1 tri-lobed lower).

The corolla colour is variable and can be bright red to orange-red.
(Ruttya fruticosa ‘Sholesei’ has yellow flowers. Also seen as ‘Scholesii’.)
At the base of the lower 3 lobes is a shiny black wrinkled nectiferous area.
This produces a lot of nectar.

The 2 stamens, with 1 anther sac, are inserted onto the lower part of the throat.
The curved yellow filaments lie close to the upper lip of the corolla.
The superior ovary has 2 locules and a 3.5 cm style that holds the stigma lobes near the anthers.

The fruit is a brown club-shaped capsule up to 4 cm long.
The up to 4 seeds are ejected by their jaculators.