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Carphalea kirondron

Flaming Beauty

Other Common Names: Giant Pentas
Family: Rubiaceae

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[1]. In Cooktown (north Queensland), they flower during the summer[2]. In Rockhampton, the display can persist well into June[3]. 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.

Online Information

[1] Carphalea kirondron, a flaming red beauty! John&Jacq~s Garden, Malaysia
[2] Return of Carphalea Garden Delights forum
[3] Flaming Beautiful Flowers The Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton (archived in Questia)
Carphalea Kirondron aka Flaming Beauty post at Typicalgardener's Blog, Malaysia
Carphalea kirondron Baill. African Plant Database, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève
Carphalea kirondron Flowers in Singapore
Non-indigenous Rubiaceae grown in Thailand Page 74 of Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) No.31 (PDF)


Click for larger image.

Carphalea Carphalea
Carphalea kirondron. Brisbane, April, 2016

Carphalea  Carphalea
Carphalea kirondron. Note unequal calyx lobes.

Carphalea  Carphalea
A small Carphalea kirondron shrub. Competition from nearby trees and turf would be limiting growth in this situation. Ixora in the background in the image on the right

Possible Misspellings: Carphelia, Carphalia, Carfalea, Carfalia



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