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The most popular of the Abelias. An evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub with a rounded, fountain-like growth habit. Fast-growing to 4-8 ft tall and 4-6 ft wide. Fine-textured, glossy, oval, dark green leaves, 2 inches long. New growth has bronze color. Prolific, tiny white with pink sepals tubular flowers (less than 1 inch long) in clusters at stem ends, from summer to fall some times longer. Flowers are slightly fragrant.
The flowers appear in the upper leaf axils and stem ends, 1-8 together in a short cyme; they are pendulous, white to pink, bell-shaped with a five-lobed corolla.
The species from warm climates are evergreen, and colder climate species deciduous.
Species and varieties:
This annual, herbaceous shrub is readily identifiable by its beautiful, pale-yellow flowers. The pods and leaves are edible, and young pods can be used in stir-fry and soups either blanched or pickled. When cooked it resembles asparagus, yet it may be left raw and served in a cold salad.
Valued as an ornamental plant, due to its colorful and attractive flowers. The leaves are alternate, rough, hairy, heart-shaped or 3-5 lobed with serrated margins. Flowers are Hibiscus-like.
Cultivated for aromatic oil from seeds. Young leaves, shoots, and unripe seedpods are cooked as a vegetable.
Abrus precatorius has small pretty purple flowers located at the end of the stalks. Fruits are short, inflated pods, splitting open when mature to reveal the round; hard and shiny seeds which are scarlet, but black at the base. Seeds contain abrin, one of the most toxic plant poisons known.