1. Family: Acanthaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Justicia L.
      1. Justicia brandegeeana Wassh. & L.B.Sm.

        There are around 600 species of Justicia distributed across the tropics and into the warmer parts of North America. Many are grown as ornamentals in tropical and subtropical gardens and as conservatory plants in temperate areas. The genus was named for James Justice (1698-1763), a passionate, though somewhat eccentric, Scottish horticulturist and writer.

    [KSP]
    General Description
    Justicia brandegeeana is commonly known as shrimp plant because of the colour and shrimp-like appearance of its inflorescence.

    There are around 600 species of Justicia distributed across the tropics and into the warmer parts of North America. Many are grown as ornamentals in tropical and subtropical gardens and as conservatory plants in temperate areas. The genus was named for James Justice (1698-1763), a passionate, though somewhat eccentric, Scottish horticulturist and writer.

    Species Profile

    Geography and distribution

    Justicia brandegeeana is native to Mexico. It has naturalised in parts of Ecuador and Florida, USA. It is widely cultivated elsewhere.

    Description

    The shrimp plant is an evergreen shrubby perennial, reaching 1.5 m tall and wide with weak branching stems. The soft green leaves are ovate-elliptic (egg-shaped), usually 5–8 cm long and downy on the underside. Reddish-pink overlapping bracts (modified leaves) enclosing small white flowers are produced throughout the year. The five petals are united into a white two-lipped corolla-tube with mauve markings on the lower lip. The two stamens have dark mauve anthers. Cultivated forms may have bright yellow or lime green bracts.

    Pollination is usually by hummingbirds.

    Uses

    The Huastec people of Mexico used Justicia brandegeeana as a traditional medicine for treating a variety of ailments, including dysentery and other gastrointestinal disorders and treating wounds. Today, J. brandegeeana is widely cultivated as an ornamental throughout the tropics and subtropics and as a greenhouse plant in cooler climates. It has received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

    Cultivation

    Shrimp plants thrive in containers and survive well as houseplants with a long flowering season. They can live for many years but need to be pinched back continually to avoid the plant becoming too tall and leggy. Propagation is by stem cuttings in spring or by division.

    This species at Kew

    Shrimp plant can be found in the Palm House.

    Pressed and dried specimens of Justicia brandegeeana are held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world by appointment. The details of some of these can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

    Distribution
    Mexico
    Ecology
    Semi-arid environments.
    Conservation
    Not evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.
    Hazards

    None known.

    [FZ]
    Habit
    Perennial or shrubby herb to 1 m; cystoliths present.
    Leaves
    Leaves ovate, apex acute, base cuneate.
    Flowers
    Flowers in subsessile or shortly pedunculate racemoid cymes from upper axils; bracts imbricate, to 2 cm long, red to purple or green, ovate, puberulous and ciliate; bracteoles similar to bracts.
    Calyx
    Calyx deeply divided into 5 lanceolate acute puberulous lobes to 5 mm long.
    Corolla
    Corolla white with reddish purple stripes on lower lip or whole lower lip red, to 3 cm long (along upper lip), with a hooded 2-lobed upper lip and spreading 3-lobed lower lip.
    Stamens
    Stamens 2, held under upper lip; anthers bithecous, thecae at different height, both with flat white basal appendage.
    Distribution
    Native of tropical America. Widely cultivated in all tropical and subtropical regions and as a pot plant in temperate regions.
    Vernacular
    Shrimp Plant.
    [KSP]
    Use
    Ornamental, traditional medicine.

    Images

    Distribution

    Found In:

    Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Central, Mexico Northeast

    Introduced Into:

    Benin, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil South, Cook Is., Dominican Republic, Gambia, Gambia, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Venezuelan Antilles

    Common Names

    English
    Shrimp plant

    Justicia brandegeeana Wassh. & L.B.Sm. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Jan 1, 2015 Palmer, E. [87], Mexico K000064627
    Jan 1, 1976 Ghiesbreght, M. [21], Mexico K000064569
    Jan 1, 1976 Palmer, E. [332], Mexico K000064570
    Jan 1, 1976 Pringle, C.G. [3074], Mexico K000064571

    First published in Fl. Ilustr. Catar. 1(Acantac.): 102 (1969)

    Accepted in:

    • [2] (2015) Pesquisas: Botanica 68: 7-82
    • [3] (2012) Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192
    • [9] Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008) Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela . Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
    • [11] Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008) Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas . SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
    • [12] Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006) Flore Analytique du Bénin . Backhuys Publishers.

    Literature

    • [1] Sykes, W.R. (2016) Flora of the Cook Islands . National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii.
    • [4] (2012) Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192
    • [5] (2011) Botanicheskii Zhurnal. Moscow & Leningrad 96: 99-103
    • [6] —Darbyshire et al. in F.T.E.A., Acanthaceae 2: 731 (2010).
    • [7] The Plant List (2010). Justicia brandegeeana. 
    • [8] GBIF (2008-continuously updated) Global Biodiversity Information Facility . http://www.gbif.org/.
    • [10] Mabberley, D. J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • [13] —Maroyi in Kirkia 18: 193 (2006).
    • [14] Brummitt, R. K. & Powell, C. E. (1996). Authors of Plant Names. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • [15] Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (eds) (1992). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. Vol. 2. Macmillan Press, London.
    • [16] Jones, M. (1991) A checklist of Gambian plants . Michael Jones, The Gambia College.
    • [17] Brummitt, R. K. & Taylor, N. P. (1990). To correct or not to correct? Taxon 39: 298-306.
    • [18] Graham, V. A. W. (1988). Delimitation and infra-generic classification of Justicia (Acanthaceae). Kew Bulletin 43: 551-624.
    • [19] Alcorn, J. B. (1984). Huastec Mayan Ethnobotany. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
    • [20] Sousa Sánchez, M. (1969). Las colecciones botánicas de C. A. Purpus en México, período 1898-1925. University of California Publications in Botany 51: 1-36.

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    [A] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    International Plant Names Index
    The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
    [B] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    [C] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [D]

    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    [E] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [F] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
    [G] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index and World Checkist of Selected Plant Families. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0