- History and Culture
Ixora parviflora is a very branched shrub that can reach 4 meters in height. It has light grey branches with longitudinal grooves. Leaves are petiolate (have leaf stalks), they vary in shape and can be ovate-oblong (oval and long) or cuneate-obovate (triangular, tear dropped shaped), leaves are rounded to the point and truncated at the base. The pattern of veining is prominent, and the surface of the leaf is smooth. The species is heterophile. Juvenile leaves have red and black spots on their upper surface. Flowering is spectacular, it has a terminal inflorescence, with pink pedicles, a pinkish calyx, and pink-tinged white corolla, especially on the outer surface of the tube. The berries are bright red when ripe.
This endemic species of Mauritius grows in intermediate forests at higher altitude, it is part of the undergrowth of native vegetation. The flowers are pollinated by flies and the geckos and its fruit are dispersed by birds. Seedlings and young shrubs can be seen in the wild.
Classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, the species is protected under the forest restoration project and in nature reserves. The seeds are easy to propagate in the nursery, and the seedlings are reintroduced in their natural environment. The plant is also used in landscaping. There is a risk of population decline due to the invasion of fast-growing exotic species.
The name of this species, parviflora, comes from the small size (parvi) of the flower (flora).
The first sample of the plant was collected in 1789 by Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, French naturalist.