If your a music fan, the phrase “Purple Royalty” probably induces visages of Prince and his anthology of sounds spanning four decades. If your a history buff, you may reflect on the fact that the color purple was often associated with Kings and Queens and their progeny. Cyrus, the King of Persia, whom ruled over 1,400 years ago, was among the most noted nobility to adopt the color purple to reflect his prestige as king. The color purple was sought after as it was very difficult to manufacture as it was from a species of sea snail -Bolinus brandaris, “and it was so exceedingly rare that it became worth its weight in gold. To harvest it, dye-makers had to crack open the snail’s shell, extract a purple-producing mucus and expose it to sunlight for a precise amount of time. It took as many as 250,000 mollusks to yield just one ounce of usable dye” (Andrews, 2018).
If your a lover of the landscape, the phrase “purple royalty” may make you think of a member of the Acanthaceae family – the Persian Shield. Strobilanthes dyerianus, originating from the nation of Myanmar in South East Asia (formerly known as Burma), is an evergreen perennial coveted for its iridescent purple leaves sweetened by slices of silver and vibrant foliage. With leaves reaching between three to seven inches in length and widths up to 3 inches, the Persian Shield is a striking addition to a landscape bed or as a backdrop to the under cover of a heavily tree lined area. Growing to heights of four feet with a spread of two to three feet, the Persian Shield produces small violet flowers in the winter that are often overlooked.
Thriving in hot, tropical to sub-tropical climates, the Persian Shield prefers nutrient rich, well drained soil in partially to full shaded areas. Sometimes referred to as the Bermuda Conehead, the Persian Shield has proven itself to not be susceptible to any of the typical diseases which inflict harm on perennials, but it is susceptible to spider mites and fungus gnats. To add visual interest, the Persian Shield can be paired with varieties of Coleus – Coleus x hybridus, such as the Frilly Milly™ with its deep red foliage. For help in selecting the right perennial for high shade areas on your property, contact LMP at (877) LMP-PRO1.
Andrews, E. (2018). Why is purple considered the color of royalty? Retrieved from: https://www.history.com/news/why-is-purple-considered-the-color-of-royalty
UF Gardening Solutions. Strobilanthes dyerianus. Retrieved from: gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/persian-shield.html
UF Gardening Solutions. Coleus. Retrieved from: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/coleus.html#:~:text=Coleus%20is%20a%20heat%2Dtolerant,providing%20you%20with%20interesting%20foliage.