Achetaria azurea: Brazilian snapdragon

Family: Plantaginaceae
Common name: Brazilian snapdragon, Amazon blue

Brazilian snapdragon is a native of Brazil, but is now grown as an ornamental plant all over the world, especially in warm, tropical weather. They can grow to a height of 3-4 feet with a well-branched, woody stem that could be brown or green in color.

This compact little plant is a garden favorite because of its beautiful purple flowers, that have a very interesting shape that resembles snapdragon and hence the name.

Brazilian snapdragon leaves are dark green, simple, opposite, unassuming with sunken veins. They have a minty pine scent when crushed. They are attached directly to the stem and do not have a distinct petiole or stalk.

Flowers are the most distinguishing feature of the the Brazilian snapdragon plant, and they bloom almost throughout the year in tropical weather. The flowers are about 3-4 cms in length, usually solitary and grows at the tip of the stem.

They are symmetrical, bluish-violet in color with 2 petals, one folding upwards and one downwards. The lower petal has a prominent white stripe near the throat.

Flowers have a long corolla tube about 2-3 cms long, that’s white, or has purple and white stripes. Stamens and style are not visible outside. The flowers then produce fruitpods that are oval capsules about 2 cms in diameter.

Brazilian snapdragon plants prefer well-drained, acidic soil. Since they bloom profusely, they need regular watering and fertilization. They do not thrive well as indoor plants, though they can be kept near sunny windows with a good 4-6 hours of direct sunlight.

Propagation is through seeds and stem cuttings.

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