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What kind of plant is Rabbit Ears?

Updated February 21, 2017

Also called "Rabbit Ears," Jammy mouth, African azalea and hummingbird plant, the Ruttya fruticosa is a tropical plant that performs as both a shrub and a vine. It sports yellow or orange flowers that are full of sweet nectar and look like a rabbit's head and ears.

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Plant family

The rabbit ears belongs to the plant family known as Acanthaceae and is native to South Africa. Acanthaceae is a large family containing approximately 2,500 species of flowering dicots in 250 genera. Other members include the Brazilian bower plant, Chinese violet, shrimp plants, thunbergias and many more.

Size and growing conditions

Rabbit ears can grow as tall as 2.1 m (7 feet). It prefers full sun and an average amount of water. It generally flowers in spring and is suitable as a potted plant for patios and other outdoor areas. The temperature in rabbit ears' setting must remain above 12.8 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit).

Invasiveness potential

Rabbit Ears has the potential to become invasive in tropical climates such as Hawaii. It is adapted to a wide range of environments, although it is uncommon, and has become naturalised in tropical and subtropical areas, making it a candidate for possible invasion of habitats in these areas.

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About the Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.

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