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Cigar plant facts for kids

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Cigar plant
Cuphea ignea1.jpg
Scientific classification

Cuphea ignea, the cigar plant, cigar flower, firecracker plant, or Mexican cigar, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Cuphea of the family Lythraceae. It is a tropical, densely branched evergreen subshrub. This species, native to Mexico and the West Indies, produces small, tubular, bright red to orange flowers. Each flower is tipped with a thin, white rim and two small purple-black petals. The flowers, which are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, are said to resemble a lit cigar, hence the name ignea, which comes from the Latin for "fire". The genus name Cuphea comes from the Greek word "kyphos" which means curved or humped; this is thought to refer to the shape of the seeds. The leaves are small, elliptical and of a bright green colour. It grows to about 60 cm (24 in).


In temperate regions Cuphea ignea requires a warm. sheltered spot, as it does not tolerate frost. Alternately it may be grown under glass or indoors as a houseplant. In the UK this plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (confirmed 2017).

In the US, C. ignea is winter hardy to USDA zones 10-12. It is somewhat drought tolerant, but prefers well-watered, well-drained soils.

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