Pretty Purple Petunia

If it weren’t for its bright flowers, it would be easy to overlook this little beauty. Wild petunia, Ruellia humilis, is blooming now on the slopes of the plateau. A hummingbird favorite because of copious nectar, wild petunia (never more than a foot tall) disperses its seeds explosively — propels them away from the parent plant. Although they look somewhat alike, wild petunia (a member of the Acanthaceae family)is actually no relation to our cultivated petunias, which are close kin to tomatoes and potatoes (family Solonaceae).

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