Flame Acanthus



Botanical Name:  Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Common Name:  Flame Acanthus, Hummingbird Bush, Wright’s Desert Honeysuckle, Wright Acanthus, Mexican Flame, Wright’s Mexican Flame

Description:  I have this Texas native perennial shrub growing in my garden in full sun and it is glorious. There is a reason one of the common names is “hummingbird bush.” Native from west and south-central Texas into adjacent northern Mexico, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii is a spreading, 3 to 5′ deciduous shrub with exfoliating bark; red-orange, tubular flowers; and light-green, lanceolate leaves. Its brilliant summer-to-fall blooms, cheerful green foliage, pale bark, and ability to attract hummingbirds make it an amazing shrub for your garden. Though found in the wild mostly in rocky, calcareous soils, it easily adapts to other soils. I can attest to its drought tolerance through this hot dry summer we’re having. As with other xeric plants within its range, rain will trigger a flush of blooms, covering the plant in fiery orange. Mine started blooming in early July. Grows great in garden beds and in large containers. It is a host plant for Janais Patch and Texan Crescentspot butterflies. Deer resistance is high on this one.

Fun Fact: The species name of this plant is for Charles Wright, 1811-1885, world-wide botanical collector who collected extensively in Texas (1837-1852), Cuba, and his native Connecticut.

The Acanthus family includes trees, shrubs and herbs. Stems are square; leaves are generally without teeth or lobes, and are opposite. The flowers are 2-lipped and almost radially symmetrical. There are 2–4 stamens; when 4, they are in unequal pairs.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall x 2′ wide.

Hardiness Zones 8 – 10



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