Blue Porterweed
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Blue Porterweed
aturalized Photo: Santhosh Thomas
Common name: Blue porterweed, Blue snakeweed, Brazilian tea, Jamaica vervain, Joee • Kannada: ಕರಿಉತ್ತರಾಣಿ Kari uttaraani, ಕಾಡುಉತ್ತರಾಣಿ Kaadu uttaraani • Tamil: சீமை நாயுரிவி Seemai nayuruvi
Botanical name: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis   Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)

Blue porterweed is a low, sprawling shrub with a subtle beauty. It is surprising to some that this native plant of the tropical south east is being cultivated for the best of gardens. It was considered a weed for so long. The leaves are attractive, crinkled and toothed. It is a perennial shrub that becomes woody toward the base of the stem as is grows to about one-year-old. Plants grow about 4-feet-tall by 6-feet wide before stems droop and touch the ground. Blue flowers, about a quarter-inch in diameter, are borne terminally on long, stringy spikes at the ends of the stems. Rich, dark green foliage displayed on square, green stems makes Porterweed a nice addition to any, sunny landscape. Porterweed is a prolific bloomer and it attracts a wide variety of butterfly. They all flock to drink its sweet nectar. More popular garden varieties are the ones with blue, purple, or coral blooms. Full sun and drought conditions have little effect on the plant. Propagation of this plant is easy, by putting any stem node in water or perlite for two weeks.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Wagamon, Kerala.

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