Alligator Flag
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Alligator Flag
P Introduced Photo: Nidhan Singh
Common name: Alligator Flag, bent alligatorflag, fire flag, fire-flag, giant water canna, greater thalia
Botanical name: Thalia geniculata    Family: Marantaceae (Arrowroot family)
Synonyms: Thalia erecta, Maranta geniculata, Thalia dipetala

Alligator Flag is an emergent aquatic plant. The name Alligator Flag is derived from its use in spotting alligators. The unexpected movement of the leaves is sometimes a sign that an alligator is swimming below. The root system is well-developed and extensively intertwined. Large leaves are broadly lanceshaped, having a rounded base and a pointed tip (> 1 m long). The leaf blade is held by a long, smooth, green or red-purple leaf-stalk. It has a thick rhizome. Paired flowers are suspended from a zigzag-shaped inflorescence stalk. Small, purple flowers, 2 cm long, are composed of 3 petals and have an irregular shape. A white, petal-like bract hangs below the flowers. Fruits are known as utricles, containing a single brown to black seed. Alligator Flag is native to C. America and Africa.

Identification credit: M. Sabu Photographed in Nischal Nursery, Panipat, Haryana.

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