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  for JULY

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Products > Ruellia insignis
Ruellia insignis - Socotran Ruellia
Image of Ruellia insignis
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus¹)
Origin: Socotra Island (Indian Ocean- Yemen)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Blue
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Ruellia insignis (Socotran Ruellia) A upright rounded shrub to 6 feet tall by as wide with dark elliptical 1 inch long dark blue-green leaves and summer flowers that appear yellowish in bud but open as 2 inch wide clear blue flowers. Plant in full to part sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to infrequently - this is a drought tolerant plant. Winter hardiness is not well known but thought to be around 25 ° F. This plant comes from the north central area of the island of Socotra in Yemen. The genus is named for the French physician and botanist herbalist Jean Ruell (1474-1537), who served the French king Francis I and wrote De Natura Stirpium, a Renaissance era treatise on botany. In 1753 Carl Linnaeus honored Ruel by giving the name Ruellia to wild petunias in his book Species Plantarum. The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'insigne' meaning "remarkable", "noted", "distinguished" or "extraordinary". It was first described by Isaac Bayley Balfour in 1884 and plants were first received by the Huntington Botanical Garden from a John Lavranos collection in 1967. A later accession, presumably from this same Lavranos collection came to the Huntington in 1992 and has since (in 2023) become a dense rounded 6 foot-tall shrub growing in a dry location in full sun. Dr. Erin Anne Tripp, a botanist at University of Colorado who studies Acanthaceae, the family that Ruellia is in, posted to her blog (The Trip Report) a bit about the unusual dimorphic cystoliths this plant has, but other than this and Dr. Tripp's 2007 article "Evolutionary Relationships within the Species-Rich Genus Ruellia (Acanthaceae)" in Systematic Botany confirming this species' relationship within the genus, we find little additional information about this plant and none about its cultural requirements and tolerances. We thank Glen Williams giving us this nice shrub that should fit in well in our dry gardens. 

This information about Ruellia insignis 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.