Cuphea sp.

One of the utter joys of exploring the Systematic Beds, which group plants into families with only ever one family per bed, is to come across a group of plants so different at first glance that it seems impossible they could be closely related. These two Cuphea species are a great compare and contrast example!
The better known is the cigar or firecracker plant, Cuphea ignea from Mexico with its shiny, tangerine orange long tubular flowers that flare out at the end, the underside of the petals a deep velvety purple and the upperside white tipped. On the opposite site of this Lythraceae bed (purple loosestrife is also in this family) is the less well-known Cuphea blepharophylla which in contrast is a windmill of papery and crinkled bright pink petals that seem to have been pressed into a connecting inner dial, the petals at 6 o'clock smaller than those at midday.

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