Bracted Stone Flower
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Bracted Stone Flower
P Native Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Bracted Stone Flower
Botanical name: Henckelia bracteata    Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)

Bracted Stone Flower is a newly discovered plant which is quite similar to Humboldt's Stone Flower in the shape of its leaves, and in having flowering stems much longer than the leaves. However, it can be distinguished by its flower-cymes having a larger number of flowers (14-38), its large elliptic to obovate bracts, ovate sepals, and the presence of eglandular hairs at the junction of the anther lobes and filaments. It is a perennial stemless herb, with rootstocks. Leaves are 8-14, basal; leaf-stalk 2-9 cm long, velvet-hairy, winged, wings 2-3 mm wide; leaf blade elliptic-ovate, 5.5-12.5 x 3-9 cm, thick, surfaces usually wrinkled, both surfaces velvet-hairy, but more so on younger leaves. Flowers are zygomorphic, 10-20 x 4-9 mm. Calyx 5(or 6)-partite, very deeply divided or basally fused; sepals reddish brown, ovate, 3-4 x 1-2 mm, unequal, white woolly, margin entire, tip slightly pointed. Flowers are bell-shaped, 5-lobed, hairy out- side, hairless inside; tube lilac to pale lilac with a yellow patch in throat, 7-9 x 5.5-7.5 mm; petals pale lilac to lilac, 5.2-7 x 7.4-8.3 mm, unequal, tip ovate to rounded. Bracts are 2 at each branching point, elliptic to obovate, 10-21 x 5-8 mm, woolly, margin rounded toothed, tip obtuse to rounded. Bracted Stone Flower is endemic to the S Western Ghats, currently known only from Kurisumala in Kottayam district of Kerala.

Identification credit: S. Kasim, Janeesha Mohideenkoya Photographed in Wagaman, Kerala.

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