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Colombian waxweed

Habit Herbs annual, [subshrubs], 1–6 dm, with fibrous roots.

erect to decumbent and spreading, usually much-branched, hispid and setose, sometimes also puberulent.


opposite, subsessile or sessile;

petiole 0–2 mm;

blade broadly elliptic to lanceolate, 12–55 × 5–25 mm, base attenuate.




1–2 mm.


alternate, 1 interpetiolar, with 1–3 flowers on axillary branchlets;

floral tube purple adaxially and distally, or green throughout, 4–6 × 1–1.5 mm, glabrous except veins sparsely and coarsely setose;

base rounded or a descending spur, 0.5 mm;

inner surface glabrous;

epicalyx segments thick, often terminated by a bristle;

sepals equal;

petals 6, deep purple or rose purple, subspatulate, subequal, 1.5–2.5 × 0.5–1 mm;

stamens 11, extending 2/3 distance to sinus of sepals.


(4–)6(–9), elliptic to suborbiculate in outline, 1.5–1.7 × 0.2–1.5 mm, margin narrow, flattened, thin.


= 16.

Cuphea carthagenensis

Phenology Flowering late spring–fall.
Habitat Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain, ditches, margins of moist woods, roadsides, moist open, disturbed areas.
Elevation 0–200 m. (0–700 ft.)
from FNA
AL; AR; FL; GA; LA; MS; NC; SC; TN; TX; Mexico; Central America; South America; ditches; disturbed areas; moist open; roadsides; margins of moist woods; Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Pacific Islands (Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Philippines), Australia]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

The weedy, self-fertilizing Cuphea carthagenensis is the most widely distributed species of the genus and one of the more common in South America. It was first collected in the United States in Florida and North Carolina in the 1920s. Fossilized pollen very similar to pollen of C. carthagenensis and close relatives is known from the late Miocene of Alabama (S. A. Graham 2013). The species flowers year-round in subtropical and tropical regions.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 10.
Parent taxa Lythraceae > Cuphea
Sibling taxa
C. aspera, C. glutinosa, C. strigulosa, C. viscosissima, C. wrightii
Synonyms Lythrum carthagenense, Balsamona pinto, C. balsamona, Parsonsia pinto
Name authority (Jacquin) J. F. Macbride: Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 8: 124. (1930)
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