Ruellia simplex (Britton's wild petunia, Mexican petunia, Mexican Bluebell) is a native of Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. It has become a widespread invasive plant in Florida, where it was likely introduced as an ornamental before 1933.
Ruella simplex is an evergreen perennial growing 3 ft (0.91 m) tall, forming colonies of stalks with lance-shaped leaves that are 6 to 12 in (15 to 30 cm) and .5 to .75 in (1.3 to 1.9 cm) wide. Trumpet shaped flowers are metallic blue to purple, with five petals, and 3 in (7.6 cm) wide. There is a dwarf variety that is only 1 ft (0.30 m) tall.
Taxonomy and synonyms
"Ruellia simplex C.Wright" is the oldest and accepted name for this species, which has been variously called Ruellia angustifolia (Nees) Lindau, Ruellia brittoniana Leonard, and Cryphiacanthus angustifolius Nees, among several synonyms. The genus is named after French botanist Jean de la Ruelle, while the specific name refers to the simple, not compound leaves.
- "Ruellia simplex". FLIP (Florida Invasive Plants). University of South Florida. http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu/flip/plant.aspx?id=35. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- "Ruellia simplex C.Wright". The Kew Plant List. http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-2420045. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- "Ruellia Simplex". Landscape Plants for South Florida. Palm Beach State College. http://www.plantbook.org/plantdata/acanthaceae/ruellia_simplex.html. Retrieved 5 September 2012.