Gynura aurantiaca (Purple passion plant)

Native to Java (Indonesia), this is an interesting little plant. It has orange blooms of colorful flowers, which is only slightly unusual. The truly unique part of this plant are the purple-colored hairs that run along the stems and foliage. The plant radiates a lovely purple color, making it easily stand out. This was actually the first plant I ever purchased with my mother, due to its peculiar appearance.These grow well in a windowsills, but be wary of overwatering!

Gynura aurantiaca (Purple velvet plant, Velvet plant, Purple passion plant)
Deciduous: no
Hardiness Zones: 10-12
Height: 30-60 centimeters (12-24 inches) tall
Diameter: spreads 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet) wide
Growth Rate: moderate
Age: perennial
Root System: roots typically smaller than the above-ground sections
Family: Asteraceae
Subspecies: ‘Purple Passion’

Tolerates: shade
Problems (major): no major issues
Problems (minor): Aphids, mealybugs, scale, spider mites, and whitefly can be troublesome; over-watering can lead to root rot. These also prefer moderate to high humidity.
Poisonous: no

Soil requirements: Soil-based potting mixes work well.
Air Requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: keep soil evenly moist, not wet
Sun requirement: Prefers partial shade (south-facing windows). Not enough sun causes legginess; too much sun causes sunscald/burning.

Monocot/Dicot: dicot
Annual/Biennial/Perennial: Perennial
Flowering: Orange flowers bloom in clusters (known as corymbs) during winter with sufficient amounts of light.

Notable characteristics:
The most extravagant feature about this plant is the presence of tiny purple “hairs” that run along the stem and leaves. These “hairs” give the plant an overall purple appearance, which has vastly increased the demand for them as house plants. The orange blooms are fascinating, although some find their fragrance repunngant.

Uses:
Primarily used a specimen plant or house plant. The flowers are showy and unique but are often removed due to their unpleasant odor.The bright orange mixed with a deep purple does create quite the contrast, however.

Sources used:

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The purple hairs are best observed in new growth, especially on emerging foliage.

DSC08247
Axillary and terminal leaves and stem
All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first. These pictures were taken at the Life Sciences/Plant Biology greenhouse at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Gynura aurantiaca (Purple passion plant)

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