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Brazilian Button Flower is a heat loving tender perennial that produces showy blue-purple
flowers all season long. (Image courtesy Gerald Klingaman)
The genus Centratherum is a member of the daisy family and consists of about 20 species scattered around
the equatorial belt of the globe. Though most internet sources list ‘Pineapple Sangria’
as a selection of C. intermedium, a species first described as coming from Central America and Columbia, it also is
sometimes given the name Manaus Beauty after the northern Brazilian capitol along
one of the Amazon’s principle tributaries, the Rio Negro.
C. punctatum was initially described as native to the Philippines and Australia. Today taxonomists
consider these two species to be subspecies of the same plant with C. punctatum being the correct name.
Brazilian Button Flower is a freely branching tender perennial growing to 18 inches
tall and 24 inches wide. Plants are hardy outside where winter temperatures do not
drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, but even at that temperature the foliage will be
killed by frost. It has 3-inch-long olive green leaves that have the fragrance of
pineapple sage when crushed. The leaves have extravagantly serrate margins and look
like they have been cut with pinking shears. The foliage fragrance and taste are reported
to keep deer and rabbits at bay.
The 1.25-inch blue-purple flower heads are borne individually and scattered about
the foliage, nested in a terminal whorl of five smaller leaves. Plants are never covered
with flower heads as seen in composites such as marigolds, but they are produced over
an extended season from June until frost in the temperate garden. The composite flower
head is composed entirely of tubular, five-pointed disc florets that begin opening
in consecutive whorls from the outside in. Small tan-colored egg shaped seeds are
produced in a nest-like whorl of outer flowers.
The Brazilian Button Flower was described by botanists in the early 19th century but it did not gain a significant following amongst gardeners, instead being
preserved as a pass-along plant in the subtropical areas. The first commercial reference
I found of the plant was in the early 1990s but even then it was dropped after a few
years because of poor sales. Since about 2000 it seems to have been rediscovered and
there has been a spike, albeit a minor one, in interest about the plant. ‘Pineapple
Sangria’, the first cultivar selected for better garden performance, seems to have
helped spur interest in the plant.
Brazilian Button Flower is a sun- and heat-loving plant that grows best in well-drained,
fertile garden soils. It can be used for massing in the border or to fill in spaces
left by perennials that fade away as it gets hot. In subtropical areas it is used
as a tall growing groundcover. Plants are easy to start from seed and blooming plants
can be produced in about 14 weeks. It is reported to reseed especially in subtropical
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired Retired Extension Horticulturist - OrnamentalsExtension News - September 19, 2014
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists
of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery
or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing