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Bouvardia ternifolia (Scarlet bouvardia)
DiQuilio, Carol

Bouvardia ternifolia

Bouvardia ternifolia (Cav.) Schltdl.

Scarlet Bouvardia, Firecracker Bush, Trompetilla, Clavillo

Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Synonym(s): Bouvardia glaberrima

USDA Symbol: bote2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Firecracker-bush or scarlet bouvardia is a 2-4 ft. shrub with shiny, oval, dark-green leaves and bugle-shaped red flowers, 2 in. long, the rim flaring into four segments. The flowers are arranged in clusters at the ends of the numerous erect branches. A shrub with brilliant scarlet, tubular flowers in loose clusters at ends of numerous erect branches.

The spectacular red corolla attracts, and provides nectar for, hummingbirds. The Spanish name, Trompetilla, which means "little trumpet," refers to the corolla's shape.


From the Image Gallery

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: 2-4'
Flower: Flowers 2 inches long
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


Native Distribution: Throughout Mex. highlands, n. to Trans Pecos & NM
Native Habitat: Among boulders and rimrock of dry mt. sites

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Igneous, Gravelly, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Most often used as a flower. Snipping old blooms will keep plant neat and dense.


Use Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Border, Perennial garden, Planned landscape
Use Wildlife: Nectar-hummingbirds, Browse
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Seed; softwood cuttings
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX


Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Bouvardia ternifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Bouvardia ternifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Bouvardia ternifolia


Record Modified: 2017-08-31
Research By: TWC Staff

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