Family : Rubiaceae
Text © Pietro Puccio
English translation by Mario Beltramini
Ixora coccinea L. (1753) is native to western and southern India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
The name of the genus Ixora is probably the phonetic expression of the Sanskrit Ishwara (Shiva), to whom this flower is traditionally offered by the Hindu believers; the name of the species is the Latin word “coccinea” = of scarlet colour, with obvious reference.
Common names: “paranti”, “patali”, “raktala” (Sanskrit); “rangan”, “rugmini”, “ranjan” (Hindi); “techi”, “tetti”, “kattutechi” (Malayalam); “flame of the woods”, “Shiva’s flame”, “jungle geranium”, “jungle flame”, “passionate love”, “burning love” (English); “ixora écarlate” (French); “Ixore”, “Scharlachrote Iora“ (German); “ixora”, “cruz de Malta”, “coralillo”, “coral”, “Santa Rita”, “jazmín del diablo” (Spanish); “ixora”, “ixora-coral”, “cruz de Malta”, “amor ardente”, “ixora vermelha”, “ixora-coral” (Portuguese).
Compact, evergreen, shrub, tall up to about 3 m, it presents 6-10 cm long, ovate leaves, of an intense green colour, glossy, opposite or in verticils by three. The tubular, 30 mm long and about 28 mm broad flowers, united in thick terminal cymes, are mainly of a scarlet colour, but can also be yellow, pink and orange. The fruits are globose, about 10 mm long, of a blackish purple colour, containing two seeds. It propagates by seeds, tip cutting in spring-summer and by root suckers.
The Ixora coccinea is one of the most popular flowering trees in the tropical and subtropical regions; it has been declared, for instance, national flower of Suriname (Dutch Guyana), where it’s called “fajalobi”, due to its ample presence. It prefers soils rich in organic substance, sub-acid, draining and kept humid, and a full sun exposition, for an abundant and continuous blossoming.
Away from the tropical and subtropical climate zones, it is to be cultivated in pot, in order to be sheltered during the cooler months, and for this purpose are well suitable some “dwarf” varieties which have been selected also for this reason.
Synonyms: Pavetta coccinea (L.) Blume (1826): Ixora montana Lour. (1790); Pavetta rubra Noronha (1790); Ixora grandiflora Ker Gawl. (1817); Ixora bandhuca Roxb. (1820); Ixora obovata B.Heyne ex Roth (1821); Ixora arborea Lodd. (1822); Pavetta incarnata Blume (1826); Ixora incarnata (Blume) DC. (1830); Ixora purpurea Fisch. ex Loud. (1830); Ixora propinqua R.Br. ex G.Don, (1834); Pavetta bandhuca Miq. (1857); Ixora coccinea var. bandhuca (Roxb.) Kurz (1877); Ixora coccinea var. linneana Kurz (1877); Ixora radiata var. thomeana K.Schum. (1893); Ixora eekhautii Gentil (1907); Ixora fraseri Gentil (1907); Ixora morsei Gentil (1907); Ixora lutea Hutch. (1912); Ixora coccinea var. aureorosea Corner (1941); Ixora coccinea var. decolorans Corner (1941); Ixora coccinea var. lutea (Hutch.) Corner (1941); Ixora coccinea var. rosea Corner (1941); Ixora thomeana (K.Schum.) G.Taylor (1944); Ixora coccinea var. hermannii Fosberg & Sachet (1989); Ixora coccinea var. intermedia Fosberg & Sachet, (1989); Ixora coccinea f. lutea (Hutch.) Fosberg & Sachet (1989).
The photographic file of Giuseppe Mazza