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The Exotic Rainforest
Plants in the Exotic Rainforest Collection

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys Lindau


 

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys Lindau
Brazilian Cloak
 


Our friends Tom and Linda White, who own Zone Ten Nursery near Homestead, FL, grow all sorts of unusual tropical flowering plants.  You can find a link to their website on the "link page" at the bottom of the homepage of this website.  One afternoon I was walking with Tom on the side of his nursery out in the full Florida sun when a blazing mixture of flaming red and vivid pink flowers almost jumped into my face.  I stopped to ask Tom what this plant was and he responded it was a semi-rare Megaskepasma erythrochlamys, the Brazilian Cloak and was, obviously, from Brazil.  I immediately had to have one to grow in our Florida yard which was landscaped with three ponds and a huge assortment of tropical flowering plants.  Fortunately, the plant is easily grown from branch cuttings which can be coated with rooting powder and stuck in a large pot of well drained soil.  That's about all it takes to get a new plant to grow.  And that is how we got the cutting for our Exotic Rainforest atrium which was taken from that original plant. 

A member of the Acanthaceae family with a very knobby semi-woody plant structure, the growth habit of the Brazilian red cloak is considered by horticulturalists to be a shrub.  It does not grow compactly as many shrub's do but instead is tall and lanky (an average of approximately 10 feet or 3 meters) while yet full.  Under ideal growing conditions the plant can hit fifteen feet (4.5 meters) in height.  Our plant is currently approximately at the eight foot mark.  According to information in plant texts the red "cloak" is a perennial plant which means it "lives more than two years".  I'd say that is correct because this "cutting" is now over five years old!  Interestingly, one note on the internet claims "The Brazilian red cloak cannot currently be found within any state in the United States."  Well, I know for sure that's wrong!  I know of at least three states in which it is growing, Florida, Georgia and Arkansas!  Tom grows and sells a lot of them in South Florida, I've got one in Arkansas and I gave a plant to a grower in Georgia!  Now, I'll have to admit, it will not grow well in Arkansas outdoors.  You'll have to provide a descent size greenhouse.  But none-the-less it is healthy, growing and flowering in the United States!  

The plant loves full sun to light shade and is found in the rainforests of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Venezuela in addition to its native Brazil.  M. erythrochlamys will tolerate cooler temperatures as low as the upper 30's but will not survive below 32 F.  And as you can see from the photo it produces beautiful blooms in the Spring and Fall as well as large 12 to 15 inch ornamental leaves most of the year.  If you manage to get one be sure and give it very well draining soil and keep the soil damp but not soggy.