Acnistus arborescens is a large shrub native to Central and South America known as Hollowheart. In its natural habitats, it grows in full sun and reaches heights of as high as 10 feet, or as a small tree up to 20 feet in height. It is also known for its abundance of white, off-white, blue, lavender, and purple flowers, as well as for its ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
This plant is best grown in USDA zone 9-11 in well-draining soil and with regular waterings. In warm climates, it can have year-round growth, while cold climates may require bringing the plant indoors in winter or providing frost protection such as an insulating wrap. If planted in a pot, it is recommended to place it in a sheltered location and use a balanced fertilizer on a regular basis. If a cold snap is predicted, the pot should be moved indoors to a sunny location.
Traditionally, Acnistus arborescens has also been used ethnomedically to treat cancer. However, no scientific evidence is available to attest to its efficacy as an herbal remedy.
In conclusion, Acnistus arborescens is an attractive, fast-growing shrub or small tree that is easy to care for and provides a splash of color to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. While it can have ethnomedical advantages, more research is needed to verify the claims of its healing properties.