Graptophyllum ilicifolium

Distribution Map
Family: Acanthaceae
Distribution: Known to occur only in the Eungella region to the west of Mackay, Queensland.
Common Name: Holly-leaved fuchsia
Derivation of Name: Graptophyllum...from Greek graptos, written on, and phyllon, a leaf, referring to the markings on the leaf (especially noticeable on G.ilicifolium)
ilicifolium...from Latin ilex, holly and folium, leaves, referring to the appearance of the foliage.
Conservation Status: Listed as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act* (ie. facing a high risk of extinction in the medium-term future, as determined in accordance with prescribed criteria). Classified as 3VC- under the ROTAP * system.

General Description:

Graptophyllum ilicifolium is a medium shrub 3-5m high found in fairly dry rainforest areas or along creek banks. Leaves are broadly egg-shaped or oval, to 5cm x 3cm, with toothed margins. They are borne alternately on the stem but opposing the leaf is a flower cluster usually accompanied by a small leaf bract which has the appearance of a dwarf leaf. If the flower does not develop (or after it has fallen) the leaf and bract appear to be opposite leaves of differing sizes.

Graptophyllum ilicifolium
Graptophyllum ilicifolium
Photo: Keith Townsend

Bright scarlet flowers occur in spring and early summer and are borne in pairs or clusters along the stems, opposite the leaves. They are tubular, about 3cm in length. Seed capsules are club shaped, dry and woody and contain 2 seeds.

G.ilicifolium is an attractive plant which is becoming more common in cultivation. It is fairly quick growing in warmer climates but may be slow in cool temperate areas. The species prefers light shade for best results. Judicious pruning will maintain a bushy habit and promote prolific flowering. This species would quite probably be suitable for tub growing.

Propagation is easy from cuttings and seed also germinates well from fresh seed.


* EPBC Act = Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
  ROTAP = Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (Briggs and Leigh, 1988)
  For further information refer the Australian Plants at Risk page


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