Indian Spurge-Creeper
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Indian Spurge-Creeper
P Native Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Indian Spurge-Creeper • Sanskrit: अलिपर्णिका Aliparnika, Duhsparsa, Kandura, Vrscikali
Botanical name: Dalechampia indica    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Dalechampia ternata, Dalechampia coromandeliana

Indian Spurge-Creeper is a twinning climber, up to 4 m long, finely velvet-hairy with stinging hairs except on upper surface of leaves. Flowers are enclosed in leaf-like bracts. Flowers are surrounded by fleshy scales formed out of deformed flowers. Male flowers: sepals 4 (or 5), lanceshaped, about 4 mm long, reflexed, folded, entire; stamens more than 20; filaments about 0.8 mm long; anthers about 1 mm long. Female flowers: about 3 mm across; bracteoles with knob-like glands along margin; sepals 8 - 12, linear-lanceshaped, often with pinnately laciniate lobes, about 5 mm long, fringed with hairs with stalked glands along margins; ovary spherical, about 3 mm across, velvet-hairy; style up to 1.5 mm long; stigma somewhat cup-shaped. Leaves are 3-foliolate, papery, hairless; leaflets stalkless or shortly stalked; pointed to rounded at base, sawtoothed along margins, short-tapering at tip; middle leaflet elliptic-ovate to obovate or ovate-lanceshaped, 5-10 x 2.5-4 cm; lateral leaflets smaller, nearly stalkless, oblique with outer bases enlarged, rounded and sometimes lobulate. Leaf-stalks are 1.2-8 cm long; stipules and stipels lanceshaped, tapering, about 3 mm long. Fruits are depressed, nearly spherical, about 8 mm in diameter; fruiting calyx 6-8 mm long, glandular hairy; seeds spherical, 3-4 mm in diameter, mottled dark grey or black. Indian Spurge-Creeper is found in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Flowering: September-December.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.

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