Scarlet Bouvardia (Bouvardia ternifolia, also known as B. glaberrima)

Map of Arizona. Counties are colored green where the species may be found.
Bouvardia ternifolia range map. USDA PLANTS Database.

Close-up of Bouvardia flowers
Close-up of Bouvardia flowers.

Bouvardia flowers clustered at branch tips.
Bouvardia flowers clustered at branch tips.

Bouvardia growing with native grasses in oak woodland.
Bouvardia growing with native grasses in oak woodland.

If you are hiking in any of the Sky Island mountain ranges, you will likely see this lovely plant near the trail. Scarlet bouvardia, also known as firecracker bush, is locally abundant in the canyons and partially shaded streams in the mountains. This plant is also found in the mountains of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

The Spanish name for the plant is Trompetilla (little trumpet), referring to the trumpet-shaped flowers.

This perennial shrub grows at elevations from 3,000 to 6,500 feet, and blooms from April to October. The bright red, tubular flowers are about 0.25 inches wide and 1.5 inches long, and clustered at the tips of the branches. The leaves are dark green in color, oval in shape with pointed tips. The shrub can be as tall as 4 feet, but is usually smaller.

Scarlet bouvardia is a favorite with hummingbirds and is a great addition to a pollinator garden. Plants can be purchased in nurseries, but will need protection from frost.