AZ Arboretums

Justica californica (Beloperone californica)


Common:Red Justicia, Chuparosa
Family: Acanthaceae
Origin: Arizona, California (USA), Baja California (Mexico), 1000 to 2500 feet elevation (300-750 m
Light: Full sun to light shade, tolerates reflected heat
Little to no water when established, needs good drainage, grows faster with some water
Temp: Damaged in high 20s, freezes to ground in teens but will recover
Soil: Tolerant, well drained; best in sand

This grayish-green shrub grows up to 5 feet high. It is mostly leafless but has many dense, soft, hairy branches. When present, the oval, grayish-green leaves grow 1/2 to 1 inch long. They, too, have fine hairs and fall during cold or drought.

Tubular, deep-red flowers bloom on and off throughout the year. A 2-lobed upper and 3-lobed lower lip, with a white-tipped anther, grow in terminal clusters up to 2 inches long. Followed by a 2-celled capsule.

This member of the large, tropical Acanthus Family (Acanthaceae) is the only New World genus that extends north into the US.

The common name Chuparosa, "sucking rose" in Spanish, is abundant with nectar, making it popular among various birds, especially hummingbirds. Quail and House Finches eat the seeds. Known locally as Honeysuckle, Chuparosa is said to have been eaten by the Papago Indians.