Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Justicia californica, Chuparosa

Justicia californica, Chuparosa, Southwest Desert Flora Justicia californica, Chuparosa, Southwest Desert Flora Justicia californica, Chuparosa, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Justicia californica
Common Name: Chuparosa
Also Called: Beloperone, Hummingbird Bush (Spanish: Chuparosa)
Family: Acanthaceae, Acanthus Family
Synonyms: (Beloperone californica)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 6 feet tall and almost twice as wide.
Growth Form: Shrub; rangy, open, twiggy, green succulent-like stems, stems brittle, herbage canescent puberulent, often growing in larger shrubs or trees for support and warmth.
Leaves: Green; opposite, simple, petioled, fine pubescence, deciduous (dry heat or cold) simple, ovate or cordate.
Flower Color: Red or dull red or reddish-orange; tubular funnel-form with two-lobed upper lip and three-lobed lower lip; 2 stamens, flowers on naked racemes and axillary, fruit is a capsule.
Flowering Season: Spring and throughout the year with ample water. In Texas Chuparosa blooms from May to early fall.
Elevation: 1,000 to 4,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Desert washes, rocky slopes especially at the base of large granite boulders.

Recorded Range: Justicia californica is rare in the United States found as a native only in Arizona and California. In Arizona it is found in the central- southwest-parts of the state and in California it is native in Riverside County and south to the border.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Justicia californica.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: 28 species in Justicia in North America; in southern, eastern half and northeastern United States and in Canada in Ontario and Quebec. 4 species in Arizona.

Comments: Chuparosa is another member of the Acanthus family found in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California. Arizona may represent its northern most limits in North America. Chuparosa or Beloperone as it is also called is heavily used by hummingbirds as the name implies. It also makes an excellent landscape plant and is readily available in nurseries.

In Southwest Desert Plants also see: Thurber’s Desert Honeysuckle, Anisacanthus thurberi; Heath Wrightwort, Carlowrightia linearifolia; Arizona Foldwing, Dicliptera resupinata; and Spreading Snakeherb, Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens.

Ethno-botanical uses have been identified for Chuparosa. See species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 11/03/2014, rev. 07/18/2015, updated 01/21/2016, updated format 10/06/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, as Beloperone californica.
Gary I. Baird, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Agoseris, Page 323, 324, 331, 332, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed dates).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 10/31/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed dates)
Acanthaceae of Sonora: Taxonomy and Phytogeography Thomas F. Daniel:, via SEINet; (Accessed 10/31/2014)
Wikipedia contributors, 'Acanthaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 October 2014, 00:02 UTC, [accessed 31 October 2014] Master Gardeners; Pima County Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona (accessed 11/3/2014).
National Park Service, The Flora Project, Desert Research Learning Center, Botany Program, Justicia californica: (accessed 11/03/2014) via SEINet.
General information: (accessed: 8/11/2014)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,