Hamelia patens, commonly called scarlet bush or Texas firebush, is native to Southern Florida, Mexico, Central and South America. It is also commonly known as Mexican firecracker or firecracker shrub because of the similarity of its flowers to firecrackers. Where this shrub may be grown as a perennial, it is evergreen, will rise to as much as 10-15’ tall and will bloom year-round. As an annual in the St. Louis area, it typically rises to 2-3’ tall in a growing season and blooms in summer and early fall. Tubular orange-red to red flowers appear in terminal clusters (cymes) in summer and fall. Whorls of pointed, oval, gray-green leaves (to 6” long) with pinkish veins. Leaves turn red in fall. Reddish stems and leafstalks. Flowers give way to small dark fruits. Butterflies and hummingbirds are reportedly attracted to the flowers, and birds enjoy the fruits.