Foto info
Photo: Venugopalan Cheriyaveettil
Common name: Crossandra, Firecracker Flower • Tamil: கனகாம்பரம் Kanakambaram • Marathi: Aboli आबोली • Konkani: Abuli आबुली
Botanical name: Crossandra infundibuliformis    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)

In South India, Kanakambaram is the favourite flowers of ladies to put in their hair. It competes strongly with jasmine to adorn the south-Indian hair-do's. The crossandra is in the family with Mexican petunias, or ruellias, and the Mississippi Medallion award-winning yellow shrimp plant. This tropical from India and Sri Lanka offers a welcome orange, salmon or yellow to the filtered-light area. In addition to the flowers that are practically non-stop for the entire season, the foliage also offers added interest. The leaves are glossy and most striking. Choose a site with well-drained, fertile soil with perhaps a little morning sun. If you have tight, heavy clay soil, the crossandra will reward you for incorporating 3 to 4 inches of organic matter. As the plant grows, keep it deadheaded and pinched back; it will maintain a bushy shape and keep blooming with each new flush of growth.

Photographed in Kannur, Kerala.
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