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ANISACANTHUS quadrifidus

Image of Anisacanthus quadrifidus

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Acanthaceae

Botanical Name

ANISACANTHUS quadrifidus

Plant Common Name

Desert Honeysuckle

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Certain to attract hummingbirds, desert honeysuckle explodes with orange-red colored blossoms from midsummer to fall. A deciduous shrub that attains an irregularly rounded shape with upright branches, it is native to the Edwards Plateau of Texas into northernmost Mexico.

The dull light to medium green leaves are small and lance-like, sometimes having a hint of white or silver on them. Beginning as early as midsummer, peaking in early autumn and waning until late autumn, the branch tips are lined with tubular flowers, each with four thin petals. Hummingbirds and butterflies frequent the flowers that later become brown seed capsules that release the black seeds. The Texan crescent butterfly uses this shrub as a larval food source. Only in frost-free areas may foliage partially linger across the entire winter. Elsewhere it is deciduous, revealing an interesting bark.

Grow desert honeysuckle in full to partial sun in any well-draining soil that is dry to moist in the heat of the growing season. Ensure clay soil is friable with organic matter added and never becomes soggy. Having good drought tolerance, occasional watering in severe dry periods will ensure better flowering. This shrub is killed back to its roots in regions with mild, subfreezing winters. Shrub forms may be pruned back to one-half or two-thirds their original heights before the new spring growth starts for a more compact growth habits leading into the later summer blooming. Protect young, recently planted plants from rabbits with a wire fence during the winter. Any stems thinner than that of a pencil may also be quickly eaten by rabbits on established plants. Variety wrightii is the preferred selection for garden use as its form and flowering are attractive.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m

  • Width

    4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    North America, Southwestern United States, Texas, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Orange Red

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes