Double-Spotted Swertia
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Double-Spotted Swertia
ative Photo: Sushmita Jha
Common name: Double-Spotted Swertia
Botanical name: Swertia bimaculata    Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian family)
Synonyms: Ophelia bimaculata

Double-Spotted Swertia is a very pretty wildflower, native to eastern Himalayas and China. Flowers are borne in lax panicles of cymes, spreading branched, many flowered, up to 50 cm. Flowers have parts in fives. Sepals are narrowly oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic, 3-6 mm. Flowers are yellow or white, with purple spots, to 2.5 cm in diameter. Petals are oblong to elliptic, 1-1.5 cm long, with base narrowed, tip pointed. Each petal has two yellow-green spots, which are actually nectaries. Filaments are 5-6.5 mm long, and anthers are ellipsoid, 2.5 mm. It is an annual herb, growing to 1-4.5 ft tall. Roots are yellow and fibrous. Stems are erect, branched, slender, 2-6 mm in diameter. Basal leaves wither away at maturity. Stem leaves are almost stalkless, broadly elliptic to ovate-lanceshaped, 3.5-9 cm long, 1-4 cm wide. Leaf base is narrowly tapered to obtuse, and the tip is tapering. Style is not distinct; stigma lobes are capitate. Capsules are narrowly ovoid, up to 2.3 cm. Double-Spotted Swertia is found beside streams, swamps, meadows and forests, at altitudes of 200-3000 m. Flowering: June-November.

Identification credit: A. Rajasekaran & J.M. Garg
Photographed in North Bengal.
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