Plants herbaceous. Stems prost-rate, climbing, or erect, glabrous. Leaves petiolate (to 1.5 cm) or sessile; blade ovate, lance-elliptic, or spatulate to oblanceolate, (3-)5-9(-15) × (1-)2.5-4(-7) cm, base attenuate, apex acute, acuminate, or obtuse. Inflorescences 3-15(-30) cm, rachises glandular, viscid; floral bracts lanceolate, 3-7 × 1-2 mm. Flowers heterostylous; calyx 7-11(-13) mm, tube glabrous but with stalked glands along length of ribs; corolla white, 17-33 mm, tube 12.5-28 mm (less than 2 times length of calyx), lobes 5-12 × 3-3.5 mm; stamens included. Capsules 7.5-8 mm. Seeds reddish brown to dark brown, 5-6 mm.
Flowering year-round. Palm groves, thickets, shady hummocks, shell mounds, rocky places in open areas; 0-50 m; Ariz., Fla., Tex.; Mexico; Central America; South America; Asia; Africa; Pacific Islands.
Plumbago zeylanica and P. scandens, both Linnaean species, have heretofore been treated as distinct, the former name applied exclusively to Old World plants, the latter to New World specimens. John Edmondson (pers. comm.) indicates that he believes this 'could be a classic case of New World and Old World taxonomists each doing their own thing.' Plants in herbaria under these two names appear indistinguishable.
Kearney and Peebles 1969, Shreve and Wiggins 1964
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Vine General: Suffrutescent perennials, decumbent to scandent, straggly, with slender weak stems to 3 m long, glabrous except for the inflorescence. Leaves: Alternate, elliptic, lance-elliptic, oblong, or ovate, acute or acuminate, margins entire. Flowers: White or blue-tinged, perfect, regular, 5-merous, salverform with a long, slender tube, sessile or subsessile, borne in panicles of spikelike racemes, calyx tubular with 5 green nerves and dotted with stipitate glands, stamens 5, free from the corolla, anthers barely exserted, single style. Fruits: Fruit an ovoid, slender, 1-seeded capsule. Ecology: Found in canyons, shaded hillsides, along roads, fences, and stone walls, from 2,500-4,000 ft (762-1219 m); flowering May-September. Notes: Look for this species under Plumbago scandens. Ethnobotany: Used for swollen parts of the body and also applied to sores. Etymology: Plumbago is a Latin name derived from plumbum for lead, and ago, which is a common plant name indicating a resemblance, while zeylanica means of or from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Synonyms: Plumbago scandens Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011