Polka Dot Plant

Hypoestes phyllostachya

''Hypoestes phyllostachya'', the polka dot plant, is a species of flowering plant in the family Acanthaceae, native to South Africa, Madagascar, and south east Asia. The spots often merge into larger areas of colour.
Polka dot plant Commonly known as the polka dot plant, this speckled beauty is native to Madagascar and south-east Asia and a popular garden plant and indoor pot plant due to its dynamic foliage. It is a perennial herb with distinctive coloured spots of various sizes on its leaves and it can grow up to 30 cm tall, taller I believe in the wild. Small, purple flowers appear from late summer through winter. Growing best in warm, shaded areas, with plenty of moisture. 

I keep mine in a pot and never allow it to flower/go to seed. Unfortunately, this is yet another non-native that likes the Australian conditions very much and is now listed as an environmental weed - it grows really well in our forests, woodlands and along waterways. 

Many different cultivars have been created with different foliage colours.



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Appearance

Growing to 30 cm tall and broad, it is an evergreen shrub with leaves heavily-spotted pink or white, as if sprayed with paint. This small shrub with green foliage stained with pink-purple dots forms bushy and compact tufts. The leaves are opposite, oval and pointed.

They are borne by petioles of 2 to 4 cm. The most common type has green leaves with pink spots, although it can range from white to any shade of pink to red. The spots on the undersides of the leaves are far lighter in color, often white.

It may produce small, solitary pink/purple flowers at the nodes that resemble honeysuckle. The small flowers form on the cob at the end of the stems and are pink/purple. The fruit is a many-seeded dehiscent capsule.

Naming

The Latin specific epithet ''phyllostachya'' means “with a leaf spike”.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomPlantae
DivisionAngiosperms
ClassEudicots
OrderLamiales
FamilyAcanthaceae
GenusHypoestes
SpeciesH. phyllostachya
Photographed in
Australia