Plumbago scandens – Doctorbush

Plumbago scandens - Doctorbush, Summer Snow, Leadwort

Plumbago scandens - Doctorbush, Summer Snow, Leadwort

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Plumbago scandens

Common Names: Doctorbush, Summer Snow, Leadwort

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Shrub, Subshrub, Vine

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert (upper elevation), Upland, Riparian. Doctorbush grows in moist, shady foothill canyons and washes. Sabino Canyon near Tucson is a good place to find these attractive plants.

Flower Color: White

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall (early)

Height: To 3 feet (91 cm) tall or more

Description: The flowers are tubular, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) across, and have 5 square-tipped lobes. The green base of the flowers and the developing green seed capsules are glandular and sticky. The leaves are dark green, simple, petiolate or sessile, and variably oval-shaped. The plants are typically loosely sprawling, but may be prostrate, climbing, or erect.

Special Characteristics

Butterfly Plant – The flowers have a long blooming season and attract butterflies.

Poisonous – Like other Plumbago species, the plants are poisonous.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Caryophyllidae
Order: Plumbaginales
Family: Plumbaginaceae – Leadwort family
Genus: Plumbago L. – leadwort
Species: Plumbago scandens L. – doctorbush

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map