Megaskepasma erythrochlamys
Common Name: Brazilian red cloak 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Acanthaceae
Native Range: Venezuela
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White with showy red bracts
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. Grow in moist, humusy, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants are generally best grown in part shade, i.e., with some protection from hot afternoon sun. Colorful flower bracts tend to bleach out in full sun. Grow in pots or containers in the St. Louis area. Plant stems can be pruned back to shape and to promote bushiness. Containers may be overwintered as houseplants in a warm sun room. Easily propagated from cuttings. May be grown from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys, commonly called Brazilian red cloak, is native to rainforests of Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It is a tropical, semi-woody, evergreen shrub that grows to 6-8' tall (to as much as 15' tall in its native habitat). Erect flowering spikes (to 12" tall) feature showy red bracts surrounding the somewhat hidden true white flowers. Flowers bloom autumn to mid winter with some additional bloom throughout the year. Ovate, medium green leaves (to 12-16" long) are evergreen with prominent veins.

Genus name comes from the Greek words mega meaning large and skepasma meaning covering with reference to the conspicuous bracts.

Specific epithet means red cloak for the bright red bracts, which hide the white flowers.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to mealybugs and scale.

Garden Uses

Containers. Houseplant. May be difficult to locate in commerce. Where winter hardy, it is often grown as a screen or hedge.