Ruellia caroliniensis (J.F. Gmel.) Steud.
Carolina Wild Petunia
Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family)
USDA Symbol: RUCA4
An unbranched, 2-3 ft. perennial with crowded, opposite, oval leaves and flowers in unstalked, axillary clusters of 2-4. Usually only one or two of the light purple to pinkish flowers are open on any given day. The flowers have a slender corolla tube and five, petal-like lobes. Seeds are borne on hooked projections.
Among the seven other members of this genus occuring in the East, this one is recognized by the long-pointed calyx lobes and bracts under the flower. The flowers of Ruellia species recall garden petunias (genus Petunia) of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Purple, lavender to pale pinkish.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MD , MS , NC , NJ , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: FL to NJ, w. to e. AR
Native Habitat: Sandy, upland, open woods
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: A number of varieties and forms occur throughout the eastern U.S.
PropagationDescription: Seeds may be planted immediately after collection or stored and sown in spring. Germination is low. Seedlings should be given protection until the second year. Summer stem cuttings seem to root well.
Seed Collection: Capsules change from yellow to green to brown over a 2 month period following flowering. A mature capsule is smooth and 1/2 in. long. Be sure to monitor closely as capsules dehisce mature seeds. Store seeds dry in an airtight, refrigerated container.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Research LiteratureReslit 102 - Age of maturity and life span in herbaceous, polycarpic perennials (2000) M. H. Bender, J. M. Baskin and C. C. Baskin
Reslit 844 - Convergent patterns of variation in Ruellia caroliniensis and R. humilis (Acanthaceae) (1961) R. W. Long
Reslit 845 - Floral polymorphy and amphimictic breeding systems in Ruellia caroliniensis (Acanthaceae) (1971) R. W. Long
Reslit 846 - Variation in natural populations of Ruellia caroliniensis (Acanthaceae) (1974) R. W. Long
Reslit 1535 - Growth and development of the native Ruellia caroliniensis and invasive Ruellia tweediana (2004) S. B. Wilson and P. C. Wilson
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Ruellia caroliniensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ruellia caroliniensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ruellia caroliniensis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff