Alternate name: Hummingbird-bush
Family: Acanthaceae, Acanthus view all from this family
Description Flowering shrub with plentiful tubular flowers in shades of bright to deep red. Densely branched, grayish-green leaves.
Flowers: corolla length 1-1 1/2" (2.5-3.8 cm); 2-lobed upper lip and 3-lobed lower lip.
Leaves: up to 1/2" (1.3 cm), decidous, ovate, finely hairy, opposite.
Height: up to 5' (1.5 m), similar width.
Flower February through June.
Flower March - June
Habitat Sandy or rocky terrain of the desert floor. Rarely above 2,500' (750 m).
Range Desert areas of southern California, Arizona, and northern Mexico.
Discussion Common names include chuparosa (or chiparosa, both colloquial Sanish terms for "hummingbird"), hummingbird bush, and beloperone. It is one of the northernmost distributed species of the mostly tropical genus Justicia. A low bush which grows in dry, hot regions in the sand or rocky terrain of the desert floor. For a short time it bears succulent leaves. It loses its leaves and then produces plentiful tubular flowers, usually in shades of bright to deep red, or sometimes yellow. Each long flower has a wide lower lip that falls open to reveal the inside of the blossom. Hummingbirds visit the bush to feed on the nectar. Other birds eat the sugar-rich flower centers. Sometimes cultivated as a landscape ornamental in desert regions for its bright flowers and to attract birds.
Comments Does not take total desert drought, as it is native to desert washes. Will freeze to the ground but will usually grow back.
Exposure Preference Sun.
Native Distribution S. Arizona, s.e. California & n.w. Mexico.
Site Preference Rocky, desert washes; 1000 to 4000 ft.
Soil Preference Dry, rocky soils.
Wildlife Value Flowers attract hummingbirds.