Aakari Bel   
Foto info
Aakari Bel
ative Photo: Shekhar Marathe
Common name: Aakari Bel • Hindi: Aakari bel
Botanical name: Pentatropis spiralis    Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)
Synonyms: Asclepias spiralis, Pentatropis cynanchoides

Aakari Bel is a perennial creeper with tuberous roots. Old branches have rough corky bark. Leaves are 1.2-3.8 cm long, 6-18 cm wide, fleshy, linear, oblong, ovate or elliptic, pointed or blunt, with a sharp point. Leaf stalks are 2.5-13 mm long. Flower clusters are carried on short stalks up to 5 mm long. Flower stalks are much longer, 5-12.5 mm. Sepals are 1.5 mm long. Petals are 8-13 mm long, hairless outside, minutely velvety inside. Petals are much longer than its small-flowered cousin Pentatropis capensis, and curl backwards. The species name spiralis is probably in allusion to this character. Corona lobes are 1.5 mm long. Follicles are 5-7.5 cm x 8 mm. Seeds 4.5 mm long, ovate, flattened, minutely irregularly crenate at the lower end. Flowering: September-December.

Identification credit: Shekhar Marathe
Photographed in Maharashtra.
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