Flame Violet
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Flame Violet
ntroduced Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Flame Violet, Episcia
Botanical name: Episcia cupreata    Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)
Synonyms: Achimenes cupreata

Flame violet flowers are brilliant orange-red; the plants are native to the moist forests of Colombia and Venezuela. It belongs to the family of African Violets. The species epithet, cupreata or copper, is a reference to the color of the abaxial or underside of the leaf of the original wild plant. Under cultivation, the flame violet has given rise to numerous leaf colorations; these cultivars are grown for their foliage. Leaves simple, opposite, blade elliptic, 4-12 cm long, margins scalloped, surface variegated with pale green, copper, reddish green, or all three colors, pubescent, puckered. Flowers continuously throughout the year; flowers two to four, borne in a fascicle atop a long, hairy peduncle. Flowers with fused petals, salverform and two-lipped, tube 2-3 cm long, limb of five spreading, nearly round lobes 7-10 mm long, red with a yellow throat, margins toothed and ciliate. Although flame violets produce seeds, they mainly reproduce by stolon or runners. A new plant grows at the tip of the stolon. In good conditions, a flame violet will colonize bare, shaded soil which gave the plant another common name, carpet plant. It is a good hanging basket plant.

Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag & Prashant More
Photographed in Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai.
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