Other Common Names: Giant Pentas
These sought-after shrubs have only been available in limited quantities on the market in Qld in the past, the species being notoriously difficult to propagate.
However, it would seem that wholesale growers have recognised the demand and have increased production. Consequently, you might be seeing it for sale more often in the years ahead but expect the price to reflect the higher production costs. If you still can't find Carphalea by the end of 2016, talk to your local garden centre. They might be able to place an order for you.
In the same family as Ixora and Pentas it has clustered flower heads reminiscent of these general. The main atraction is the brighly coloured, long lasting calyx (sepals) of each floret, the protruding white corolla (petals) being relatively insignificant. Showy sepals are also the main attraction of another member of the Rubiaceae family, Mussaenda. Unequal sepals are also a feature, although not anywhere near exaggerated as the garden forms of Mussaenda
They are valued for the large, bright red flower heads and long bloming period, reportedly all-year round in the Malaysia. In Cooktown (north Queensland), they flower during the summer. In Rockhampton, the display can persist well into June. Soon we should have a greater chance to see how well they will perform in Queensland and even further south. The bush is capabable of growing up to 3 metres, although expect less in suboptimal conditions (see photographs below).
A taxonomic revision has renamed the species Paracarphalea kirondron.