Stachytarpheta mutabilis: Pink snakeweed

Pink snakeweed plants look very beautiful in flowering season, growing to a height of 1-2 meters with bushy, branched stems and pretty flowers.

Family: Verbenaceae
Common name: Pink snakeweed, Red snakeweed, Coral Porterweed, Pink rat tail

Pink snakeweed plants look very beautiful in flowering season, especially if they are planted close to one another. They grow to a height of 1-2 meters with bushy, branched stems and pretty leaves.

The leaves resemble mint leaves, about 10-12 cms long, having toothed margins. They are opposite, lance-shaped, thick and leathery. Snakeweed flowers stand tall on spikes that are 50-60 cms long, raised high above the level of the leaves, giving the plant a very unique appearance.

They look like they have many long rat tails standing erect on top, with pretty little flowers on them. Flowers start opening from the lower end of the spike and move upwards, about 10-20 flowers open at any point in time.

Once all the flowers open, the spikes dry up and become brown, carrying the seeds inside. Flowers range in color from peach, light pink, dark pink and red; with a tubular corolla, partially fused petals and dark shading towards the inside of the flower.

Elongated sepals cover the tiny buds from which little flowers peep out before they open. Though they are very beautiful ornamental plants, they are also seen in the wild, and are quite invasive since they can spread quickly. They grow very quickly and produce many seeds helping the plant establish itself in an area pretty fast.

The flowers contain copious amounts of nectar, making them very attractive to birds, bees and butterflies. For this reason, pink snakeweeds are preferred plants in butterfly gardens and bird parks.

These plants are very closely related to Blue porterweed plants or Stachytarpheta jamaicensis.

Snakeweeds are also low-maintenance plants that need very little water and fertilization. Like all flowering plants, they are sun-worshippers and do well in full sunlight. Older plants could look a little gangly; so it’s good to prune them occasionally.

Propagation is through seeds and stem cuttings.

Leave a Reply