Pseuderanthemum carruthersii



Pseuderanthemum carruthersii

(Seem.) Guillaumin 1948

pronounced: soo-der-RANTH-ee-mum kar-RUTH-erz-ee-eye

(Acanthaceae — the black-eyed Susan family)

synonym — Pseuderanthemum reticulatum

Radlk. 1884

pronounced:  soo-der-RANTH-ee-mum ret-ick-yew-LAH-tum

common names: Eldorado, yellow-vein pseuderanthemum

Pseuderanthemum means ‘false Eranthemum’, from the Greek ψευδο- (pseudo-),false, εραννος (erannos), lovely, and ανθος (anthos), a flower; carruthersii is for William C. Carruthers (1830–1922), Scottish botanist; in the synonym, reticulatum is from the Latin reticulatus, net-like, and refers to the venation pattern of the leaves.

This is a native of the open forests of Polynesia and Melanesia, where plentiful rainfall sustains the plant. When it is cultivated ornamentally in the South Pacific islands, it is almost always grown as a hedge along roadsides, property boundaries, or paths leading to houses. In its natural habitat in the shaded rainforests, its growth habit is open and rather straggly.

Pseuderanthemum carruthersii is an erect, woody, evergreen shrub that can grow up to almost 2 m in height, and has a loose, airy crown when growing in the wild. In cultivation the plant tends to become more dense, probably because of pruning and the availability of sunlight. The waxy green leaves (up to 10–12 cm in length) are marked with a clear yellow network on and between the veins.

The small white flowers have bluish purple patches, and grow in colourful loose erect clusters above the branch tips continuously for most of the year.

The flowers are followed by small club-shaped fruiting capsules, each containing 4 flat seeds. The plant is easily propagated from cuttings.
Vigorous pruning will produce more compact plants, and induce new growth and foliage. It does best in bright indirect sunlight. It is quite suitable for growing in pots, and should do reasonably well indoors. It likes to be misted regularly with warmish water, but lime-free water should be used to avoid leaf staining. In the garden, it will withstand a certain amount of salt air, but should be protected from strong winds off the sea.


Photographs taken at Picnic Bay 2008, 2009
Page last updated 20th March 2019