This form of the species A. pulcher has historically been referred to as A. lobbianus in North America, but is now understood to be part of the A. pulcher complex. A number of other species names have been synonymized under A. pulcher include A. boschianus, A. javanicus, A. lanceolatus and A. parvifolius, among others.
This is the species to which the common name of “Lipstick Plant” is appropriately applied. The name derives from the appearance of the bright red buds emerging from the dark maroon tubular calyx — just like a lipstick emerging from its tube. There are other Aeschynanthus (e.g. A. curtisii, A. siphonanthus) with a similar effect, but the name has come to be commonly applied to all Aeschynanthus, even those that bear little resemblance to A. pulcher.
The leaves of A. pulcher are quite heavy and succulent, and for this species and others with similar foliage, it is important to allow the soil to get fairly dry before watering. Like many Aeschynanthus, A. pulcher delights in being outside in the summer, in dappled shade or even full sun for part of the morning.
An antique botanical print beautifully captures the essence of this attractive species.
Several additional photos may be seen in a slideshow by clicking one of the links below:
- Another flower close-up
- A small plant grown outside during a Cape Cod summer.
- A large hanging basket, grown at Montreal Botanical Garden
- Another large basket grown in Japan at a commercial garden center
- A form with pale green calyces
- A form with pale tan calyces
- A form with variegated leaves
- A large plant with variegated leaves, exhibited in the 2021 virtual show of the Gesneriad Society
- A form grown as A. boschianus (flowers and plant)
- A form grown as A. javanicus
- A form grown as A. lanceolatus