Aeschynanthus pulcher (Blume) G. Don

Etymology Genus From Greek aischyno (ashamed) and anthos (flowers); referring to the blushing red color of the flowers
Species Handsome, pretty
Family Gesneriaceae
Synonyms Aeschynanthus parvifolius R. Br.
Common Names Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine
Status Native: Presumed Extinct
Form Climber
Native Distribution South Thailand and Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java


Aeschynanthus pulcher is a herbaceous climber or epiphyte on trees or rocks, found in our rainforests. The opposite leaves may be green or purplish, usually hairless or sparsely hairy at the leaf base. For the tubular flowers, it has dark red to purple calyx >10mm long, and are mostly covered with hairs except for the ovaries.

It bears a very close resemblance to Aeschynanthus radicans, but a key distinguishing feature is the hairy ovary, and densely hairy leaf underside (Middleton, 2016).

Interesting Facts:

The status of locally extinct for the Lipstick Plant has been overturned since its rediscovery in Nee Soon Swamp Forest in 2013 (Williams, 2014). It is also grown ornamentally for its attractive red blooms.

Red tubular flowers with purple calyx in Nee Soon Swamp Forest (2013).

Climbing form.

Sprawling over a Bird's Nest Fern.

Close-up of leaves.

Young leaves, which appear to be more hairy


Williams C (2014) The rediscovery of a presumed nationally extinct Aeschynanthus. Gardenwise 43: 10-11.

Middleton DJ (2016) A revision of Aeschynanthus (Gesneriaceae) in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore, 68(1): 1-63.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2018-12-20 / Modified: 2019-08-02