Blue Forest Champa
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Blue Forest Champa
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Blue Forest Champa • Hindi: Padera, Padwa, Mahabal, Barcha • Marathi: गिडेसा Gidesa • Nepali: बन चाँप Ben champa • Telugu: Erra Mogi, Konda muritidi • Urdu: बन चाँपा Ban champa • Nepali: बेन चम्पा Ben Champaa, तुगा सागे Tugaa Saage, बाख्रा पीरे Baakhraa Pire, गुह्य बीरी Guhya Biri, करकरे घांस Karkare GHaans
Botanical name: Spermadictyon suaveolens var. azureum    Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee family)
Synonyms: Spermadictyon azureum

Blue Forest Champa is a branched shrub, growing up to 1-2 m tall. The species name suaveolens means sweet-scented, and refers to the fragrant flowers. The variety name azureum means blue, referring to the bluish flowers of this close cousin of the white-flowered Forest Champa. Oppositely arranged elliptic-lancelike leaves, 10-20 cm, are finely velvety. Leaf stalks are 1-2 cm long. Flowers occur in many-flowered spherical heads, arrange in panicles at the end of branches. The spherical heads are 5-10 cm across. Flowers are fragrant, in bunches of 5 or more. Sepals are small, very narrow, and tapering. Flowers pale bluish or pinkish, with a relatively long tube and short, oblong petals. The tube is slender, funnel-shaped, up to 1.5 cm long, with 4-5 short petals, spreading up to 8 mm. Stamens remain inside the flower throat. Style with 5-lobed stigma protrudes out of the flower. Fruit is capsule-like, crowned by the leftover sepals. In China it is grown for its showy, fragrant flowers. Only seen wild in India. This flower is seen in Western Ghats and Himalayas, from Pakistan to SE Tibet, at altitudes of 700-2300 m. Flowering: October-March.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Maharashtra & Uttarakhand.

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