A Tale of Three Shrimps

Horticultural pursuits sometime follow Culinary pursuits. There are different types of Shrimp Plants as there are different types of Shrimp to eat. Shrimp Plants are a new favorite of mine. These plants seem to be pretty bulletproof and bloom nearly year round. The evil Lubber Grasshoppers like to eat them, but other than that they have been remarkably pest free.

I had not realized there were (at least) three different kinds. The one I have in a pot on my front porch, commonly called Yellow Shrimp Plant is Pachystachys lutea, a member of the Acanthus family. Sometimes the common name Lollipop Plant comes up, not sure why?  I have tried to propagate this, but it was a grave failure. The plants wilted as soon as I took the cuttings.  Online research tells me to try again in late Spring with softwood cuttings.

Shrimp Plant Pachystachys lutea

Shrimp Plant
Pachystachys lutea

I have another type of Shrimp Plant growing in my garden, the Red Shrimp Plant, Justicia brandegeana. This is sort of a passalong plant in Florida my neighbor gave me. A different genus, but still in the Acanthus family. These make good cut flowers and seem to reproduce effortlessly without taking over. Needs a bit of shade, but don’t we all. Butterflies and Hummingbirds like this plant and so do I.

Red Shrimp Plant

Red Shrimp Plant

Recently I found out there is an evil Shrimp Plant in South Florida, the Green Shrimp Plant. The Green Shrimp Plant is also known as Brown’s Blechum, Blechum pyramidatum. Blech, is right, this is an invasive in frost free zones. Oddly enough, another member of the Acanthus family, but the black sheep. If you live in an area that receives frost this can be a good addition to the Butterfly Garden. A host plant for Buckeye, White Peacock, Malachite and Painted Lady Butterflies those with less than 32 degree weather can enjoy this in peace. Beware further South.

Green Shrimp Plant

Green Shrimp Plant

What is confounding me is why these are called Shrimp Plants in the first place and why the Green Shrimp Plant clearly has blue flowers?

Another horticultural mystery to solve.


11 comments on “A Tale of Three Shrimps

  1. mattb325 says:

    They’re great plants and fascinating, too! I gave up questioning why plants are given their names – I’m yet to come across one that I agree with. Except maybe ‘blech’ – I rather like that description!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shrimp plants are a staple in my garden. I have about four different ones, but the yellow finds it too cold here to live in a bed. I always thought the plant looked like it had shrimp “legs”. I have never heard of the Green Shrimp.


  3. Chloris says:

    They are houseplants here, at least the yellow one is, I have never heard of the others. They don’ t look very shrimpy to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “The evil; shrimp plant” sounds like the title of a movie!


  5. Very much enjoyed this Shrubqueen. I have shrimp plants in my garden–they are traditional red. A Classic….:)


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