With beautiful purple leaves, Strobilanthes dyerianus is a tender perennial that makes a dramatic addition to any garden. Native to Myanmar (Burma), this evergreen sub-shrub in the acanthus family (Acanthaceae) with the common name of Persian Shield has been grown since Victorian times for its ornamental foliage indoors and out.
Persian shield flourish when the weather is cool, but grows quickly under hot and humid conditions to form a large, bushy and mounded plant. This soft-stemmed herbaceous shrub can grow up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, but typically remains much smaller when grown in containers or in cooler climates.
The opposite and lance-shaped leaves have lightly toothed edges and prominent veins creating an almost quilted look. The foliage is a deep purple, lilac and green overlaid with silvery highlights on older leaves, creating an unusual metallic or iridescent sheen on the upper surface.
In mild climates, older plants produce short conical spikes of insignificant flowers held above the foliage in fall or winter. The funnel-shaped, pale blue to lilac-colored flowers are five-lobed, with two, three or four stamens. The flowers emerge from sticky brachts, opening sequentially along the spike, so the plant remains in bloom for a long time.