Firebush Native and Non-native of Florida

The Firebush  is also called

  • Scarlet Bush
  • Hummingbird Bush
  • African Fire Bush
  • Mexican Fire Bush
There are two different Firebush varieties.  The Florida native has red/orange or mostly red flowers with dull hairy leaves (Hamelia patens). If the flowers are yellow to red/orange with smooth leaves this is the non-native form (Hamelia patens var. glabra).  After doing research I believe mine is probably not a native.  There is also a dwarf variety but the origin of these plants can not be determined.  There is a new cultivator called “Firefly” with leaves and flowers about half the size of a normal Fire Bush.
     The Fire Bush is a VERY hardy tree but does not tolerate cold.  My Firebush has died completely back to a stump two years in a row and has grown back quickly.
     The foliage of the Firebush attracts various butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds.  Last year I had a hummingbird visiting my bush.
     After the flowers drop the Firebush produces a black glossy fruit that is a favorite of local birds.
     There are many herbal uses for the leaves and fruit of the Firebush and here are some websites to learn more:
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