Mexican Heather
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Mexican Heather
ntroduced elliptic Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Mexican Heather, Mexican false heather, false heather, Hawaiian heather
Botanical name: Cuphea hyssopifolia    Family: Lythraceae (Crape Myrtle family)

Mexican false heather is a small tropical evergreen sub-shrub with many charming attributes including compact form and fine textured foliage. Growing to a maximum height of about 24 in false heather grows to form flat topped mounds 18-36 in in diameter. The plant's flat feathery sprays of foliage are 12-18 in long and are highly branched. The small oblong leaves resemble those of Scotch heather (genus Calluna also known by its synonym Erica) and are about 3/4 to 1 in long and 1/4 to 1/2 in wide. They are arranged alternately the length of the stems giving the plant a fernlike appearance. In tropical climates tiny flowers emerge from the axils (the points where the leaf attaches to a stem) to create a show of color that lasts for much of the year. False heather flowers range from the typical purple and lavender to the less frequently seen white, pink and deep rose varieties.

Identification credit: Shaista Ahmad, Aarti Khale Photographs from Delhi and Nasik.

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