1887 Hypoestes

Constanze Schweiger, Hypoestes phyllostachya Baker, 1887, 2012
Every leaf has its own character. Some look more spectacular than the flower they engender. Some make for a recognizable shape, while others follow distinct chaos. During the course of a year, they might develop diverse colors, due to their exposure to sunlight or to the turning of leaves in fall. Greenish red. Reddish blobs scattered across green faces: shocking pink, naked-like, spotted candy color, Crayola‘s Razzmatazz from 1993, electric crimson - halfway between red and rose on the color wheel. Peek-a-boo pink eyed is the Hypoestes phyllostachya Baker, 1887, commonly called Polka Dot Plant. It is an old-fashioned houseplant with a long cultivation history starting in Madagascar. Freckle Face, mainly grown for its pea green leaves with pink splotches, similar to something found in Jack Smith’s film Normal Love. The pattern does not follow the veins of the leaf, nor does it interact with the environment or protect the annual. Cultivators put a lot of labor into this invasive species to amplify its unusual, formerly less dramatic color contrast. Opinions divide on the outcome – attractive or nasty. Either way, the plant lets us know whether it‘s happy: the pink spots shrink or diminish when it is not getting enough light, and its leaves will bleach to a lighter green if it is getting too much.