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Strobilanthes dyerianus Plant of Merit

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Kemper Code:  A122

Common Name: Persian shield
Zone: 10 to 11
Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Acanthaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Burma
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 1 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer  
Bloom Color: Violet
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Unknown

Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. In St. Louis, grow as annual bedding plants that are replaced in the garden each spring or in pots/containers which are overwintered indoors or as houseplants. Pinch stems as needed to avoid legginess and stimulate bushiness. Best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Likes consistently moist soils. Best foliage color in part shade. Full sun is probably best only in cool summer climates. Plants may be overwintered indoors in a bright sunny room, however as plants age and begin to develop woody stems the quality of the foliage color usually declines. Consider taking cuttings from overwintered plants for spring planting and/or taking cuttings in late summer for overwintering.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Native to Burma (Myanmar), Persian shield is a soft-stemmed, tropical, evergreen shrub or subshrub that is grown primarily for its attractive iridescent purple foliage. It grows 3-4 tall in frost-free climates, but typically grows 1-3 in the St. Louis area. Features ovate-lanceolate dark green leaves (to 8 long) that are flushed with silvery-purple iridescence above and dark purple beneath. Spikes of tiny violet 5-lobed funnel-shaped flowers usually do not bloom during the St. Louis growing season, but infrequently may be seen on overwintered plants in greenhouses. Flowers appear in short cone-shaped inflorescences, thus giving rise to the less frequently used common name of Burmuda conehead. Genus name comes from the Greek words strobilos (cone) and anthos (flower). Synonymous with Strobilanthes dyeriana.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for spider mites on indoor plants.


Annual bedding plant. Containers. Houseplant.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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