Red hot cat's tail
The science bit
Perennial shrub up to 4.5m tall. Flowers bright red, up to 50cm long, hang like catkins from the leaf axils. Each plant has either male or female flowers (dioecious). Pollinated by wind or insects.
- This is a popular ornamental plant thanks to its unusually soft, brightly coloured flowers.
- In cultivation, only female plants are likely to be seen and it is the female part of the flower, the stigma, that gives the red colour to the hanging tails.
Where it grows
Tropical dry forests in Papua New Guinea.
- Axil: angle between the stem and the leaf.
- Perennial: lives for at least two years.