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P Native Herb ovate Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Coleus
Botanical name: Coleus scutellarioides    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Coleus blumei, Coleus formosanus, Plectranthus scutellarioides

Coleus is a succulent evergreen perennial. It varies in height from 1 to 6 ft. The distinguishing feature of coleus is it's beautifully colored and patterned leaves. These leaves are velvety to the touch and vary in size from 2.5-20.3 cm in length. They come painted in a startling palette of colors from florescent yellow, to red, pink, white, maroon, and cream. The light blue or lavender flowers are borne in an upright clusters, up to 50 cm long. Flowers are about 1-2 cm long corolla, 2-lipped, obtuse and trifid upper lip, of white or pale blue colour, the lower one, acute and semi-bifid, of violet blue colour. The plant is native to Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Viet Nam, where it grows in the pluvial and monsoon forests.

Identification credit: Shaista Ahmad, Varun Sharma Photographed in Delhi.

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