Strobilanthes japonica

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Strobilanthes japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Strobilanthes
Species: S. japonica
Binomial name
Strobilanthes japonica

Acanthopale japonica (Thunberg) C. B. Clarke ex S. Moore
Championella japonica (Thunberg) Bremekamp
Ruellia japonica Thunberg
Strobilanthes bonatianus H. Léveillé

Strobilanthes japonica is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant from Asia,[1][2] one of around 350 plants of the genus Strobilanthes.[3] The 20–50 cm ornamental plant is cultivated in Japan and China, and blooms in autumn with 1.5 cm purple to white funnel-shaped flowers.[1][2]


S. japonica grows 20–50 cm in height, with thin, heavily-branching stems and purplish-red glabrous (smooth) branchlets.[1] Its leaves are simple and opposite, attached by 2–5 cm petioles, are narrow elliptic or lanceolate in shape, 2–5 cm long and 0.5-1.8 cm wide, and are glabrous and densely covered with cystoliths.[1][2] The plant flowers from August or September to October or November, with 1.5 cm purple to white 5-lobed funnel-shaped corollas, which produce loculicidal capsules with four ovate seeds.[1][2]

The species appears similar to Strobilanthes tretraspermus (Champ. ex Benth.) Druce in China, but S. japonica has lanceolate leaves and glabrous ovary,[1] and S. tretraspermus has a pubescent calyx.[2]


Earlier thought to be indigenous to Japan,[4] S. japonica is now thought to have been introduced from China.[2]

Partial distribution includes regions of Japan (Shikoku and Kyushu)[5] and regions of China (Chongqing, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan and Sichuan).[6] (“Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution.”)[7] The plant typically grows at 500–1100 meters altitude, and Flora of China notes that it’s often found near temples and religious sites.[1] In Japan, it is “cultivated for ornamental purpose, rarely naturalized on S. Kyushu”), and “wild plants are not known in China,” according to Flora of Japan.[2]


Common names include イセハナビ or 伊勢花火 (Ise-hanabi, meaning “Ise fireworks”) in Japanese,[2][8] 日本黄 (RìBenHuáng) in Chinese,[9] and 日本马蓝 (RìBenMaLán) in Mandarin Chinese.[9] An 1852 French journal transliterated two common Japanese names as “Ise fanabi” and “Iwa kikyau.”[10] There is no common name in English.

Synonyms include Acanthopale japonica (Thunberg) C. B. Clarke ex S. Moore, Championella japonica (Thunberg) Bremekamp, Ruellia japonica Thunberg (from 1784), and Strobilanthes bontaiana H. Léveillé.[1]

Conservation Status[edit]

S. japonica was listed as Vulnerable in the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Strobilanthes japonica in Flora of China @". Flora of China @ Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Flora of Japan". Flora of Japan Database Project. Japanese Society for Plant Systematist. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Moylan, Elizabeth C.; Bennett, Jonathan R.; Carine, Mark A.; Olmstead, Richard G.; Scotland, Robert W. (2004). "Phylogenetic relationships among Strobilanthes s.l. (Acanthaceae): evidence from ITS nrDNA, trnL-F cpDNA, and morphology" (PDF). American Journal of Botany. American Journal of Botany, Inc. 91 (5): 724–735. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.5.724. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Wilkes, John (1827). Encyclopaedia Londinensis; or Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and Literature. XXII. London. p. 433. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Daigaku, Kanazawa, ed. (1951). "Ruellia+japonica" Science Reports of Kanazawa University, Volumes 1-5. Faculty of Science, Kanazawa University. Kanazawa University. p. 74. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Strobilanthes japonica (Thunb.) Miq.". Beijing & St. Louis: Science Press & Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Strobilanthes japonica". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Strobilanthes japonicus (Thunberg) Miquel". Professor Summer’s Web Garden. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Catalogue of Life - 10th December 2013 :: Species details". Species 2000 & Itis Catalogue of Life. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Bazin; Bianchi; Botta; Caussin de Perceval; Cherbonneau; D'Eckstein; Defrémery, C; Debeux L; Delaurier; Fresnel; et al. (1852). "Octobre-Novembre 1852". Journal asiatique. Quatrième série (in French). 20. Paris: Société asiatique. p. 327. Retrieved 11 December 2013.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  11. ^ Walter, Kerry Scott; Gillett, Harriet J., eds. (1 January 1998). 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Gillett,. IUCN The World Conservation Union. p. 41. ISBN 978-2-8317-0328-2. Retrieved 10 December 2013.