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Products > Tibouchina urvilleana
Tibouchina urvilleana - Princess Flower
Image of Tibouchina urvilleana
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Melastomataceae (Melastomes)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Yellow/Chartreuse Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Burgundy
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Synonyms: [Pleroma urvilleanum, T. semidecandra,Hort.]
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Tibouchina urvilleana (Princess Flower) - Semi-evergreen open shrub that grows 6-8 feet or more tall by as wide - if really happy can reach 15 feet and be used as a small tree. The decoratively vein ribbed leaves are oval with new foliage covered with velvety red hairs and older leaves taking on red hues in fall and winter. A spectacular bloomer with its rich royal purple five-petaled 2-3 inch flowers at the ends of the branches in the spring through fall. These flowers have curiously curved anthers which has given the plant the alternate name used by some as Brazilian Spider Flower. Plant it in full coastal sun to light shade with its base shaded and in a well-drained, preferably acidic soil. Water regularly to occasionally and has proven frost hardy to short duration temperatures from 25 to 27° F. Tip prune occasionally to keep compact. This plant that is native from São Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and has naturalized in Colombia, Central America and on the Hawaiian Islands. It has been in cultivation in California since the early 20th century, but under many different names. It was originally misnamed in the trade under the invalid names Lasiandra macrantha, Pleroma macrantha and Tibouchina grandiflora or as Tibouchina semidecandra, which is the valid name for another species that has never been in general cultivation. It was listed in 1967 Sunset Western Garden Book as Tibouchina semidecandra with the synonym Pleroma splendens but by the 1970s the name had been corrected to match the Tibouchina urvilleana listed in the Cornell University's Hortus III published in 1976, and this name has been used until the present. The name Tibouchina is an adaptation of a Guianan indigenous name that the French botanist Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet used to describe a related plant in 1775 in his Flora of French Guiana and the specific epithet honors the 19th-century French explorer and botanist Jules Dumont d'Urville. As noted in the 1961 Sunset Western Garden Book, this plant is among the showiest of our subtropical shrubs and it received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993. In the most recent databases the correct name is now listed as Pleroma urvilleanum based on the 2019 article in Taxon by Paulo José Fernandes Guimarães, Fabián A. Michelangeli, Karla Sosa, and Jesús?Ricardo de Santiago?Gómez titled "Systematics of Tibouchina and allies (Melastomataceae: Melastomateae): A new taxonomic classification" whose phylogenetic analyses resulted in a narrowly circumscribed Tibouchina and the re-establishment of the genus Pleroma. The name Pleroma was one coined by the Scottish botanist David Don in 1823 and was derived the name from Ancient Greek 'pleroma' meaning "fullness" in reference to the manner in which the seeds filled the fruit capsule. Most references and nurseries, including us, still refer to this plant as Tibouchina urvilleana and we will continue to do so until such time as others become accustomed to Pleroma urvilleanum, or it gets changed back! We also grow the stunning Tibouchina heteromalla, which likewise has been reclassified as a species of Pleroma. 

This information about Tibouchina urvilleana displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.