Cutflower Nomenclature

Scientific/Botanical Name:

Genus: Crossandra

Specie: C. infundibuliformis


English Name:


Common Name:

Firecracker Flower, Kanakambaram flowers (Tamil, Malayalam & Telugu.)

Botanical Family:

Name in Latin: Acanthaceae

Name in English: Acanthus Family

The Plant

Origin: native to Southern India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Growth Habit: evergreen

Flower: Flower colours range from the common orange to salmon-orange or apricot, coral to red, yellow and even turquoise. The flowers are unusually shaped with 3 to 5 asymmetrical petals. They grow from four-sided stalked spikes.

Blooming Period: bloom continuously almost throughout the year

Leaf: Medium green leaves on a sparsely branched plant that can reach three feet (90cm).


A well tended specimen will bloom continuously for years. They have a tube like ¾ inch stalk which makes it easier to string them for a garland. These tiny flowers are often strung together into strands, sometimes along with white jasmine flowers and therefore in great demand for making garlands which are offered to temple deities or used to adorn women’s hair. The flowers have no perfume but stay fresh for several days on the bush.

Care and Handling

Soil: Use a good rich potting soil (a soil that retains water yet drains well), such as an African violet mix.

Amount of water: Keep the soil evenly moist at all times. Use warm water

Nutrition: Feed every two weeks with a water soluble, lime free fertilizer.

Special handling: They are sensitive to cold and can’t stand below 50*F. Does best in bright indirect sunlight coming from the South/East/West

Special feature/remarks:

They are related to such houseplants as the Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa), Black-eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata), Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata), Nerve Plants (Fittonia) and Ruellia.

The main reason they are known as "Firecrackers" is because their seed pods, which are found after the flower has dried up, tend to "explode" when near high humidity or rainfall. The "explosion" releases the seeds onto the ground, thereby creating new seedlings.