Cuphea hyssopifolia

Cuphea hyssopifolia

False Heather, and its cultivars, are widely cultivated plants.
They are rounded, evergreen, much branched sub shrubs up to 50 cm or so high.
Young stems are green and older ones become slightly woody.
They are covered in a mix of long and short, curved hairs.

The opposite, dark green leaves are narrowly elliptic with pointed tips.
They are 10 to 15 mm long and up to 5 mm wide.

Axilllary inflorescences are single flowers on stalks up to 6 mm long.
There are 2 small bracteoles.

The tubular hypanthium is up to 5 mm long and around 2 mm wide.
There are 6 short, pointed sepal lobes on the rim with reddish edges.
The green, ribbed tube is hairy externally.

The 6 petals insert onto the hypanthium between the sepal lobes.
About 5 mm long they are pink or purplish.
Including cultivars they can also be white and various shades of pink and mauve.
Others are red or orange and there is a dark purple one with a white lip.
Below the dorsal two, inside the hypanthium are 2 wide yellow stripes.

There are 9 stamens inserted near the top of the hypanthium and 2 slightly lower down.
The white filaments are hairy and the anthers open inwards via long slits.
The ovary has a hairy style that holds the stigma near the throat of the tube.
There is a glandular yellow nectary at the base of the ovary.

The development and release of the seeds is typical of most Cupheas.
The sides of the hypanthium and ovary split longitudinally.
The placenta then rotates sideways exposing the developing ovules.
There are a few flattish, shiny 2 mm wide seeds.