A picture of a Hot Lips

Hot Lips

Palicourea elata

Also known as

Hooker's Lips

Photo by Ken-ichi Ueda (CC BY 4.0)

Partial Shade
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature


More images of Hot Lips

A close up of a red Palicourea elata flower
A close up of a red Palicourea elata flower
A close up of a green Palicourea elata plant
A green Palicourea elata plant with a red flower
A close up of a Palicourea elata plant

Hot Lips Overview

Palicourea elata is a shrub in the Rubiaceae family. This species is very distinctive, particularly when flowering. It forms conspicuous modified leaf structures around the flowers, these are known as bracts. They are bright red and resemble a pair of human lips, hence the common names Hot Lips and Hooker's Lips. This is to attract specialised pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies. The flowers are scented and white in colour, leading onto small blue-black berry fruits. This species comes from understory rainforest environments from Mexico to South America and it can grow to 3m in height, provided the correct conditions.

Special features of Hot Lips

Attractive flowers

Attracts birds

Attracts butterflies