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Tibouchina, also known as the Spider Flower, is a remarkable bush or tree that grows in the tropical forests of Latin America, particularly in Brazil (Tibouchina urvilleana), Mexico, French Guiana and the Caribbean. Frost-sensitive and lovers of heat and humidity, tibouchinas are cultivated in pots in European climates where they make beautiful greenhouse or conservatory plants. The Tibouchina genus belongs to the Melastomataceae family, which includes about 350 species. The most well-known among gardeners is undoubtedly Tibouchina urvilleana (synonyms Pleroma urvilleanumLasiandra semidecandraTibouchina semidecandraPleroma macrantha), also known as 'Tibone d'Urville', prized for its large flowers of an incandescent violet and its velvet emerald green foliage. We could also mention a few other species such as Tibouchina granulosaT. grandifolia and T. organensis, still relatively unknown. In nature, tibouchina can reach heights ranging from 50 cm (20in) to 25 m (82ft), depending on the species. When grown in pots, this bush remains much smaller in size. There are also dwarf cultivars, measuring less than 1 metre (3 feet) in height, like the charming 'Groovy Baby'. The flowering of the Tibouchina lasts for several months, dwindling in winter due to the decrease in sunlight and temperatures. The flower colour, of rare intensity, varies from pink to almost fluorescent violet. The cup-shaped flowers, measuring 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4in) in diameter, consist of 5 petals and long stamens that are curved and hooked like little spider legs, which has earned the plant the nickname of 'Spider Flower'.


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