Thanks to Cameron for nominating Graptophyllum excelsum as our P o M for August. Recently Cam photographed these plants in full flower among rocky outcrops on Magnetic Island above Nelly bay, and he noticed the gorgeous scarlet flowers were attracting many butterflies and sunbirds.
Graptophyllum excelsum (Acanthaceae) is a Queensland endemic, listed as Near Threatened under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act. It is uncommon in the wild and only patchily distributed in a few coastal areas of northern and central Queensland.
Graptophyllum excelsum also known as Native Fuchsia can do well in local gardens in a sunny, well-drained spot and usually grows as a dense shrub up to 3 m tall. Propagation can be done from cuttings or fresh seed. Growth tends to be fairly slow, but it’s worth the wait!
Graptophyllum excelsum typically produces a few flowers intermittently around the year, plus a spectacular full flowering period that often occurs during August although timing may vary in different areas.