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P Native Photo: S. Jeevith
Common name: Chonakurinji
Botanical name: Strobilanthes perrottetianus    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Nilgirianthus perrottetianus

Chonakurinji is a shrub, about 1 m high; stems nearly round, faintly swollen at nodes, hairy. Leaves are opposite, about 8 x 4 cm, slightly unequal in pairs, elliptic-ovate, pointed or wedge-shaped at base, rounded toothed at margin, short- tapering at tip, thin to nearly leathery, soft-hairy glistening-hairy on both surfaces; lateral nerves 6-8 pairs, parallel, impressed above, faintly raised beneath; leaf-stalks about 2.5 cm long, hairy; opposite leaf-stalk bases forming a permanent line on stem. Flowers are borne in spikes, shortly strobilate or obovate, about 4 cm long, softly rufous-hairy; outermost bracts leafy; bracts purple, stalkless, ovate, about 1.2 cm long, sheathing at base, pointed, hairy. Calyx is about 1 cm long, 5-lobed almost to the base, hairy; lobes ovate-lanceshaped, pointed, subleathery with numerous red hairs. Flowers are funnel-shaped, about 2.5 cm long, hairy at throat, blue or pale liliac to dark pink; cylinder base short, about 4 mm long, gradually widening above, hairless outside, hairy inside, 5-lobed; lobes round, blunt. Capsules are oblong-ellipsoid, about 1.6 cm long , excluded, hairless; seeds 2, ovoid-discoid with a median ridge, about 5 mm across, minutely papillate, exareolate. Chonakurinji is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: June-December.

Identification credit: S. Jeevith, Dr. C. Rajasekar Photographed in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.

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