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Starr 080117-1693 Hypoestes phyllostachya.jpg
Polka dot plant
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Subfamily: Acanthoideae
Tribe: Justicieae
Genus: Hypoestes
Sol. ex R.Br.
Over 100 species

Amphiestes S.Moore
Periestes Baill.

Hypoestes is a flowering plant genus of about 150 species. They are widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical lands around the Indian Ocean, and some adjacent regions.

It belongs to the subfamily Acanthoideae of the acanthus family Acanthaceae. Therein, it is classified in the subtribe Justiciinae of tribe Ruellieae, making it a relative of such American genera as the mosaic plants (Fittonia), water-willows (Justicia) and wrightworts (Carlowrightia).

Hypoestes comes from the Greek 'hypo' meaning under, and 'estia' meaning house. It refers to the way the flowers are hidden by the fused bracts.[1]

Many of these herbaceous to small shrubby plants of the undergrowth have boldly patterned leaves, typically featuring red colors. Some are grown as ornamental plants or pot plants. Most well-known among these are H. phyllostachya of Madagascar and its cultivars, commonly called polka dot plant.


The following is a list of species recognised by Tropicos maintained by the Missouri Botanical Garden:[2]

Flowering stalks of Hypoestes aristata


  1. ^ G. Miller, Anthony; Morris, Miranda (1988). Plants of Dhofar. Oman: The sultanate of Oman. p. 12. ISBN 071570808-2.
  2. ^ "Hypoestes". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden.