Plant Description

Gynura aurantiaca

Gynura aurantiaca

Sometimes known as purple velvet plant, Gynura aurantiaca is a rambling, shrubby perennial from the broad Asteraceae family. It has broad, velvety green leaves with a purple sheen created by a downy overlay of purple hairs. The plant comes originally from Java, in Indonesia, so it needs a frost-free position in part or dappled shade, with sufficient moisture. It will grow to 60 cm high and quite wide. It seems best to pinch out the tips of the plant regularly to keep it compact. It can also grow as a scrambling creeper: if tied to a fence or trellis, the stems will grow up to 2 or 3 m long! Strange orange-red flowerheads, rather like a dandelion, are produced in late winter; they are not really an attractive feature and I remove them. The plant grows easily from cuttings taken in spring or autumn. This plant can be grown indoors in a pot.

I grow mine nearby Strobilanthes dyeriana, which has alluring purple shiny leaves. The combination thrills me every time I pass it, with the purple glow of the Gynura leaves looking for all the world (at least to me) as if they are catching a reflection of the hue of the Strobilanthes foliage! A cultivar with more serrated-edged leaves may be 'Purple Passion'.

According to some authorities, this plant should now be called Crassocephalum vitellinum.


Gynura aurantiaca
Flowers in August.
Plant Family: Asteraceae

Other Gynura