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Rosanna Freyre, Chad Uzdevenes, Liwei Gu, and Kenneth H. Quesenberry

large genus ( Daniel et al., 1984 , 1990 ; Daniel and Chuang, 1993 ). The most commonly found Ruellia species in southeastern U.S. gardens is Ruellia simplex (britton’s petunia, mexican petunia, or mexican bluebell). Scientific names for this plant

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Rosanna Freyre, Adam Moseley, Sandra B. Wilson, and Gary W. Knox

, and three non-native species are listed as naturalized in the state: R. blechum L., R. ciliatiflora Hook, and R. simplex Wright ( Wunderlin and Hansen, 2012 ). In past years, R. simplex (commonly known as mexican petunia, mexican bluebell, or

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Rosanna Freyre, Zhanao Deng, Gary W. Knox, Steven Montalvo, and Victor Zayas

known as mexican petunia, mexican bluebell, or britton’s petunia) has low maintenance requirements and prolific flowering, and has become a very popular landscape plant in the southern United States ( Gilman, 1999 ) since its introduction to Florida

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Rosanna Freyre, Adam Moseley, Gary W. Knox, and Sandra B. Wilson

mexican petunia, mexican bluebell, or Britton’s petunia) has low maintenance requirements and prolific flowering and has become a very popular landscape plant in the southern United States ( Gilman, 1999 ) since its introduction to Florida sometime before

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Sandra B. Wilson, P. Chris Wilson, and Joseph A. Albano

Invasive species have disrupted thousands of acres of natural areas in Florida and appear to have a physiological competitive advantage over native species. The influence of light and temperature on germination was determined for the invasive Mexican petunia (Ruellia tweediana Griseb.) and native wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis Steud.). Seeds were collected and germinated in incubators with light or darkness at 15, 24, 33, and 30/20 °C. Light increased germination for each species, except at 15 °C (R. caroliniensis). For R. caroliniensis, highest germination (86% to 94%) occurred at 33 °C and 30/20 °C. Highest germination of R. tweediana (98% to 100%) occurred at 30/20 °C. Studies also were initiated to determine if R. tweediana has a competitive advantage over the native species when grown under wet and dry substrate conditions. Growth and development measurements after 8 weeks under controlled conditions revealed that R. tweediana grown in wet conditions had the greatest dry weight increase as compared to other treatments. Ruellia caroliniensis had higher specific leaf area when grown in wet or dry conditions, as compared to R. tweediana. Throughout the experiment, net CO2 assimilation of R. caroliniensis grown under dry or wet conditions was consistently lower than that of R. tweediana. Shoot nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiencies were generally greatest for R. tweediana plants grown in wet conditions. For shoot nutrient content, significant species × moisture interactions occurred for measured phosphorus (P) and calcium (Ca). When grown in wet conditions, R. tweediana had less shoot P and Ca as compared to dry conditions. For root nutrient content, species × moisture interactions were insignificant for each measured nutrient, with the exception of potassium (K). Potassium use efficiency of R. tweediana roots grown in wet conditions was higher than that of R. tweediana grown in dry conditions and R. caroliniensis grown in wet conditions.

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Rosanna Freyre and Sandra B. Wilson

Ruellia (Acanthaceae) consists of ≈250 species of perennial herbs, subshrubs, and shrubs with mostly tropical and subtropical distribution. Ruellia simplex (commonly known as “Mexican Petunia” or “Mexican Bluebell”) is native to Mexico, the

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S. Christopher Marble and Stephen H. Brown

petunia ( R. ciliatiflora ), shrubby wild petunia ( R. dipteracanthus ), and mexican petunia ( R. simplex )—with shrubby wild petunia occurring very rarely (only vouchered in one county) and mexican petunia being categorized as a Category 1 invasive by

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Rosanna Freyre and Erin Tripp

widespread and morphologically highly variable taxon here recognized as Ruellia simplex Wright (“Britton’s Petunia,” “Mexican Petunia,” or “Mexican Bluebell”). Scientific names for this plant that have been used throughout the botanical and horticultural

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Sandra B. Wilson, Julia Rycyna, Zhanao Deng, and Gary Knox

)], porterweed [ Stachytarpheta sp. ( Qian et al., 2021 )], butterfly bush [ Buddleja davidii ( Wilson et al., 2004 )], mexican petunia [ Ruellia simplex ( Wilson et al., 2009 )], privet [ Ligustrum sp. ( Fetouh et al., 2020 ; Wilson et al., 2014b )], and

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Rosanna Freyre, Zhanao Deng, and Victor A. Zayas

Ruellia L. (Acanthaceae) consists of ≈300 species of perennial herbs, shrubs, small trees, and lianas with tropical, subtropical, or temperate distribution ( Tripp, 2007 ). Ruellia simplex Wright (commonly known as Mexican petunia, Mexican