DescriptionAromatic soft herbs 100–305 mm tall with a spread of about 600 mm. The often glossy, soft, round to obovate leaves are light to dark green above, sometimes deep purple below, semi-succulent (64–90 mm across) with crenate to broadly-toothed margins borne on rectangular stems. Stems are short, strigose (short rough hairs pointed in the same direction).
White, pale mauve, or pale pink flowers appear sporadically throughout the year in gardens but more abundantly in spring and late autumn. Inflorescence terminal, racemose, verticillate (whorled), 50–260 mm long, often with paired side branches (verticillasters) at the base. Calyx 3 mm long enlarging to 5 mm. Corolla 10–25 mm long, white, often speckled; tube 4–16 mm long, straight, laterally compressed, 2–3 mm broad, almost linear; base slightly saccate. Nutlets 1 mm long, brownish.
Distribution and habitatAbundant in its native habitat in frost-free areas along forest margins, in woodland, kloof forest and scrub forest from Knysna through KwaZulu-Natal to Limpopo. Does not tolerate frost.
Uses and cultural aspects:P. verticillatus is a nursery favourite in warmer areas of the world. A number of commercial cultivars, including several variegated forms, have been developed here and overseas: ‘Barberton', ‘Blyde', ‘Eureka', ‘Freckles', ‘Gossip', ‘Malelaan', ‘Money Maker', ‘Pink Surprise', and ‘Ubombo'.