Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Colombian Waxweed - Cuphea carthagenensis   (Jacquin) J.F. Macbride
Members of Lythraceae:
Members of Cuphea with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Myrtales » Family Lythraceae
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Author(Jacquin) J.F. Macbride
DistributionThroughout the Coastal Plain, but not quite reaching the Sandhills proper. Is clearly spreading inland as is now "invading" the eastern parts of the Piedmont in recent years; one population found in 2020 is in the Piedmont of Harnett County (Raven Rock SP), and found west to Alamance County in 2022 (NCU specimen).

Native of South America; in N.A. Coastal Plain (rare in the Piedmont) from VA to FL-TX-AR; central TN.
AbundanceFrequent to locally very common.
HabitatMoist or wet soil of roadside ditches, swales, marshes, swampy woods, depressions, wet roadbeds. Sometimes in drier situations.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-September.
IdentificationColombian Waxweed grows 1-2 feet tall, with few strongly ascending branches. The leaves are short and elliptical, tapered to a short stalk. The rather small flowers grow in leaf axils, have a red-brown tube and 6 flaring magenta-rose lobes, each with a central red stripe. The range of the native Blue Waxweed (C. viscosissima) abuts Colombian Waxweed in Wake County though is essentially a Piedmont and mountain species; it differs in its much larger leaves which have a taper-tip, and the petals somewhat more purple in color than rose or magenta.
Taxonomic CommentsThe species epithet comes from the Colombian port city of Cartagena.

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State RankSE *
Global RankG5?
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B.A. SorrieRaven Rock SP, N of Cape Fear River, roadside at bridge/creek crossing, November 2020. HarnettPhoto_non_natural
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