Himalayan Lantern
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Himalayan Lantern
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Himalayan Lantern, Creeping Agapetes • Nepali: खुर्सानी Khursani
Botanical name: Agapetes serpens    Family: Ericaceae (Blueberry family)
Synonyms: Pentapterygium serpens, Vaccinium serpens,Thibaudia myrtifolia

Himalayan Lantern is a beautiful shrub, 40–60 cm tall, with arching stems and tiny hanging lantern-like flowers. Rootstock is tuberous. Twigs are cylindrical, 1–2 mm in diameter. Leaves are crowded, on short stalks 1 mm. Leaf blade is dark green above and pale green on the underside, narrowly ovate or ovate-oblong, 1.2–2 cm long, 5–8 mm wide, leathery. Base is rounded, margin slightly recurved, toothed above middle, tip sharp or blunt. Flowers hang down in fascicles of 1–3. Stalks are 0.7–2.5 cm, slightly thicker at apex. Sepal cup is 3.5–4 mm, 5-winged. Sepals are ovate-triangular, 3.5–4.5 mm long. Flowers are bright red, orange, or pinkish white, with dark red zig-zag bands, tubular, 1.2–2.8 cm, 5-angled. Tiny petals are curved back, triangular, 2–3 mm. Berry is obovoid, 5-winged, about 6 mm in diameter. Persistent sepals are enlarged. Himalayan Lantern is found in the Himalayas at altitudes of 1200-3000 m, in Nepal and NE India, particularly Darjeeling. Flowering: May–June.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Sikkim and Lava Forest, West Bengal.

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