Appearance: Mainly shrubs with one sepal enlarged and brightly coloured, usually more prominent than the flower.
Flowers: Attractive, colourful flower bracts, petals often insignificant.
Features: Attractive ornamental plants with colourful floral bracts.
Requirements: Most prefer rich, moist soil, but often give best displays of colourful bracts in poorer soils.
Most prefer tropical to sub-tropical conditions. Some have some cold tolerance but most very frost tender.
They tend to be deciduous where winters are cool. Most prefer full sun, but some are adaptable.
Culture: Light pruning can help keep them in shape.
Pest & Disease: Rarely a major problem; mites, mealy bug & grasshoppers occasionally
Species & Varieties:
Approximately 200 species, including:
M. arcuata -To 2.5m tall, lacks spectacular coloured sepals of most species, yellow flowers with brown centre.
M. erythrophylla -Many different cultivars of this shrub are available, some growing to over 10m, but most are shorter. They have spectacular large yellow, pink, red or cream sepals.
M. frondosa -To 1m tall, yellow sepals.
M. glabra -A climbing shrub with white sepals (bracts) up to 13cm long surround small yellow or orange flowers.
M. incana -An erect shrub to 1m with white bracts to 7cm long, greyish foliage, wiry growth, some consider it may be synonymous with M. frondosa.
M. luteola -A fast growing shrub to 2m tall with masses of yellow sepals (bracts) to 2.5mm long. Prefers a sunny position.
M. macrophylla -To 1.8m tall, orange sepals
M. Roxburghii - An erect shrub to 10m, with white sepals to 12cm long.
M. philippica -Large soft hairy leaves with prominent red veins on under surface, small rich yellow flowers contrast against white to cream flowers
Want to Learn More?
Check out publications in the ACS Bookshop: www.acsbookshop.com
For more information on Courses on Horticulture and Plants:
In Australia: http://www.acs.edu.au/Courses/horti.aspx
In the UK: http://www.acsedu.co.uk/Courses/horti.aspx
Tropical Plants Course: www.hortcourses.com/courses/tropical-plants-bht234-404.aspx