White Shrimp Plant

Justicia betonica
Herb
Opposite
Simple
White
Pink
Purple
Green

A shrubby perenial up to 1.5m high that produces an abundance of upright, compact white-violet inflorescences with overlapping, papery, cream to pale green (sometimes with a tinge of pink) bracts that have distinct green net veins.

Common names 
Also known as: paper plume,, shrimp plant, squirrel tail, squirrel's tail, squirreltail, white shrimp,
Family 
Acanthaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Summer to Autumn
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Native to tropical Asia and tropical Africa.
Notifiable 
No
State declaration 
Nil
Council declaration 
NIL - Reduce
Known distribution 

This species is becoming widely naturalised in the warmer coastal districts of eastern Australia (i.e. in the coastal districts of eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales).

Habitat 

In a wide variety of grassland, scrub, woodland and evergreen forest habitats. Also in secondary vegetation and sometimes as a weed of cultivated areas.

Habit 

A shrubby perenialup to 1.5m high that produces an abundance of upright, compact white-violet inflorescences with overlapping, papery, cream to pale green (sometimes with a tinge of pink) bracts that have distinct green net veins.

Impact and control methods 

White shrimp plant (Justicia betonica) is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland and as a potential environmental weed or "sleeper weed" in other parts of northern Australia. This garden ornamental has escaped cultivation and invaded roadsides, parks, urban bushland, disturbed sites and waste areas. It prefers damper sites and is particularly invasive along waterways and in riparian areas.

White shrimp plant (Justicia betonica) is quickly becoming widespread and common in waterways in south-eastern Queensland. It forms dense infestations that replace native species and was recently ranked among the top 200 most invasive species in this region. This species was first recorded as naturalised in New South Wales in the year 2000, in Ukerebagh Nature Reserve at Tweed Heads in the far north-east corner of the state.

This species is is also regarded as being invasive in Hawaii, where it often escapes cultivation and forms large stands of vegetation.

Stem and leaves 

Stems often with a purple tinge, may be rough to the touch. Leaves at each node usually equal, opposite, ovate to elliptical to 22 cm long, to 12 cm wide, margins slightly wavy. Leaf' s upper surface dark green with underside paler. Petiole up to 15mm long,

Flowers and fruits 

Inflorescence terminal spike, each subtended by 3 white membranaceous bracts with prominent green veins. Corolla 2-lipped, mauve with a white spot on the lower lip; capsules 2-lobed.

Reproduction and dispersal 

Reproduces by seed, stem nodes when coming into contact with soil readily sprout roots. CAn grow from discarded gardden waste