Feb. 7, 2022

Colombian waxweed, Cuphea carthagenensis

Cigar flower seems to be omnipresent in conservatories. It's a species of Cuphea, and looks quite different than this with long tubular flowers. So when I found this plant on a Georgia roadside, it was quite a surprise to discover it is another Cuphea. Waxweed started out somewhere in the American tropics, maybe Colombia, and has now been scattered around the world. The oldest records of its spread seem to be from Hawaii in the 1850s. Now Africa is the only place that has only a little of it. In a few places it is a significant pest, but it mostly flies under our radar. Colombian waxweed here is in AL, AR, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, WX, and VA. Lowndes Co GA, 7/7/18. Loosestrife family, Lythraceae.