The Ruellia Pages

Ruellia acetabula

Ruellia adenostachya

Ruellia affinis

Ruellia amoena

Ruellia amplexicaulis

Ruellia angustior

Ruellia anthracina

Ruellia antiquorum

Ruellia aspera

Ruellia asperula

Ruellia bahiensis

Ruellia beniana

Ruellia bignoniiflora

Ruellia biolleyi

Ruellia blechum

Ruellia boranica

Ruellia bourgaei

Ruellia brachysiphon

Ruellia brandbergensis

Ruellia breedlovei

Ruellia brevifolia

Ruellia bulbifera

Ruellia californica

Ruellia capitata

Ruellia carnea

Ruellia caroliniensis

Ruellia cearensis

Ruellia chartacea

Ruellia ciliatiflora

Ruellia ciliosa

Ruellia coerulea

Ruellia conzattii

Ruellia costata

Ruellia cuatrecasasii

Ruellia currorii

Ruellia curviflora

Ruellia cuyabensis

Ruellia devosiana

Ruellia dielsii

Ruellia discifolia

Ruellia disstifolia

Ruellia donnell-smithii

Ruellia elegans

Ruellia erythropus

Ruellia eumorphantha

Ruellia eurycodon

Ruellia exilis

Ruellia exostemma

Ruellia floribunda

Ruellia foetida

Ruellia fruticosa

Ruellia fulgens

Ruellia fulgida

Ruellia galeottii

Ruellia geminiflora

Ruellia golfodulcensis

Ruellia grisea

Ruellia haenkeana

Ruellia haughtii

Ruellia helianthemum

Ruellia hirsuto-glandulosa

Ruellia hookeriana

Ruellia humboldtiana

Ruellia humilis

Ruellia hygrophila

Ruellia incomta

Ruellia inflata

Ruellia insignis

Ruellia inundata

Ruellia jaliscana

Ruellia jussieuoides

Ruellia kaokoana

Ruellia lactea

Ruellia lantanoglandulosa

Ruellia lasiostachya

Ruellia laslobasensis

Ruellia longepetiolata

Ruellia longifilamentosa

Ruellia longipedunculata

Ruellia macarenensis

Ruellia macrantha

Ruellia macrophylla

Ruellia macrophylla var. lutea

Ruellia malaca

Ruellia marlothii

Ruellia matagalpae

Ruellia matudae

Ruellia maya

Ruellia mcvaughii

Ruellia megasphaera

Ruellia menthoides

Ruellia morongii

Ruellia neesiana

Ruellia nitens

Ruellia nobilis

Ruellia nocturna

Ruellia nudiflora

Ruellia oaxacana

Ruellia ochroleuca

Ruellia odorata

Ruellia palustris

Ruellia paniculata

Ruellia patula

Ruellia pearcei

Ruellia pedunculosa

Ruellia pereducta

Ruellia petiolaris

Ruellia pittieri

Ruellia pohlii

Ruellia potamophila

Ruellia pringlei

Ruellia prostrata

Ruellia proxima

Ruellia puri

Ruellia purshiana

Ruellia putumayensis

Ruellia ruiziana

Ruellia saccata

Ruellia salviifolius

Ruellia sanguinea

Ruellia sarukhaniana

Ruellia simplex

Ruellia solitaria

Ruellia sororia

Ruellia species [Tripp et al. 5943]

Ruellia species [Tripp et al. 5944]

Ruellia species [Tripp et al. 5953]

Ruellia species [Tripp et al. 5967]

Ruellia species [Tripp et al. 6776]

Ruellia speciosa

Ruellia spectabilis

Ruellia sp. nov.

Ruellia sp. nov. [Tripp et al. 5908]

Ruellia sp. nov. [Tripp et al. 5930]

Ruellia sp. nov. [Tripp et al. 5971]

Ruellia sp. nov. [Tripp et al. 5979]

Ruellia stemonacanthoides

Ruellia strepens

Ruellia succulenta

Ruellia tarapotana

Ruellia terminale

Ruellia tolimensis

Ruellia trachyphylla

Ruellia tuberosa

Ruellia tubiflora

Ruellia verbasciformis

Ruellia villosa

Ruellia wurdackii

Ruellia yurimaguensis

Ruellia is a large genus of ca. 300 species. Mexico and Brazil are centers of diversity, but the genus is common elsewhere throughout the Neotropics as well as in Madagascar and mainland Africa. A few species also occur in southeast Asia, Australia, and temperate regions of North America and South America.

Molecular work indicates Ruellia is monophyletic (Tripp 2007, Systematic Botany). Old World species form a basal grade and New World taxa are monophyletic and nested within this grade. The New World clade is composed of several lineages, three of them quite large in size (EuruelliaPhysiruellia, and Ebracteolate), and six somewhat smaller in size (the Ruellia inundataR. inflataR. jaliscanaR. humilisR. harveyana and Blechum clades). Floral morphology is diverse within Ruellia. Pollination syndromes (e. g. bee, hummingbird, bat, hawkmoth, butterfly) have evolved multiple times suggesting that pollinators have played an important role in the overall diversification of the genus. Pollen morphology (3-porate, spheroidal, coarsely reticulate) represents the best-known synapomorphy for the genus. A haploid chromosome count of x = 17 has been found for nearly all Ruellia species (over 50 spp. surveyed; Daniel & Chuang 1998).

Species of Ruellia can be found in a wide variety of habitats including understory rainforest, desert, swamp, tropical montane, and temperate grassland environments. Most are herbaceous but some are shrubs, small trees, or lianas. A majority of species of Ruellia produce cleistogamous flowers in addition to open (chasmogamous) flowers. The seeds of Ruellia, like other Ruellieae, are covered by hygroscopic trichomes that become mucilaginous when wet (Tripp et al. 2013, IJPS). These traits aid in successful reproduction and dispersal, and may help explain the widespread distribution of the genus. Several species of Ruellia are ornamentals, and others have been noted for their local, medicinal uses (e. g., for the treatment of headaches, dizziness, used to make teas, eye drops, and leaves smoked to induce hallucinations; see Daniel 2004 and Wasshausen 2005).


Daniel, T. F. and T. I. Chuang. 1998. Chromosome number of cultivated Acanthaceae and systematic implications. Pp. 309-330 In: Mathew P., Sivadasan M. (eds.) Diversity and taxonomy of tropical flowering plants. Mentor Books. Calicut, India.

Daniel, T. F. 2004. Acanthaceae of Sonora: Taxonomy and Phytogeography. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 55: 690-805.

Grant, W. F. 1955. A cytogenetic study of Acanthaceae of Thailand. Brittonia. 8: 121-149.

Tripp, E. A. 2007. Evolutionary relationships within the species-rich genus Ruellia (Acanthaceae). Systematic Botany 32: 628-649.

Tripp, E. A., T. F. Daniel, S. Fatimah, and L. A. McDade. 2013. Phylogenetic relationships within Ruellieae (Acanthaceae) and a revised classification. International Journal of Plant Science 174: 97-137.

Wasshausen, D. C. 2005. Chapter 5.6 Acanthus: Family Acanthaceae. Pp. 112-114. In: G. A. Krupnick and W. J. Kress (eds.). Plant conservation: A natural history approach. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

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