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Cape leadwort

doctor bush, wild leadwort

Habit Plants evergreen shrubs. Plants herbaceous.

erect, trailing, or climbing, diffusely branched, to 3+ m, glabrous or pubescent on youngest shoots.

prostrate, climbing, or erect, glabrous.


usually sessile, sometimes short-petiolate;

blade elliptic, oblanceolate, or spatulate, (1–)2.5–9 × 0.5–2.5 cm, base usually long-attenuate, sometimes auriculate, apex acute or obtuse, mucronate.

petiolate (to 1.5 cm) or sessile;

blade ovate, lance-elliptic, or spatulate to oblanceolate, (3–)5–9(–15) × (1–)2.5–4(–7) cm, base attenuate, apex acute, acuminate, or obtuse.


2.5–3(–5) cm, rachises short-pilose (hairs ca. 0.1 mm), eglandular;

floral bracts lanceolate, 3–9 × 1–2 mm.

3–15(–30) cm, rachises glandular, viscid;

floral bracts lanceolate, 3–7 × 1–2 mm.



calyx 10–13 mm, tube usually short-pilose and with stalked, capitate, glandlike protuberances ca. 1 mm along distal 1/2–3/4 of ribs;

corolla pale blue, 37–53 mm, tube 28–40 mm (more than 2 times length of calyx), lobes 10–16 × 6–15 mm;

stamens included or exserted.


calyx 7–11(–13) mm, tube glabrous but with stalked glands along length of ribs;

corolla white, 17–33 mm, tube 12.5–28 mm (less than 2 times length of calyx), lobes 5–12 × 3–3.5 mm;

stamens included.


8 mm.

7.5–8 mm.


brown, 7 mm.

reddish brown to dark brown, 5–6 mm.


= 14 + 0–1B.

Plumbago auriculata

Plumbago zeylanica

Phenology Flowering year-round. Flowering year-round.
Habitat Hummocks, thickets, disturbed sites in dry soil Palm groves, thickets, shady hummocks, shell mounds, rocky places in open areas
Elevation 0-50 m (0-200 ft) 0-50 m (0-200 ft)
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FL; s Africa [Introduced in North America]
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Plumbago auriculata is frequently cultivated in Mediterranean-type warmer climates, especially in California, Arizona, and Texas.

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

Plumbago zeylanica and P. scandens, both Linnaean species, have heretofore been treated as distinct, the former name applied exclusively to Old World plants, the latter to New World specimens. John Edmondson (pers. comm.) indicates that he believes this “could be a classic case of New World and Old World taxonomists each doing their own thing.” Plants in herbaria under these two names appear indistinguishable.

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

Source FNA vol. 5, p. 611. FNA vol. 5, p. 611.
Parent taxa Plumbaginaceae > Plumbago Plumbaginaceae > Plumbago
Sibling taxa
P. zeylanica
P. auriculata
Synonyms P. capensis P. scandens
Name authority Lamarck: in J. Lamarck et al., Encycl. 2: 270. (1786) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 151. (1753)
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