Little Tree Plant
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Little Tree Plant
ative Photo: Pravin Kawale
Common name: Little Tree Plant, Sensitive plant, Sikerpud • Hindi: लजालू Lajalu • Marathi: झरेरा Jharera, लाजवंती Lajvanti • Tamil: Tintanali • Malayalam: മുക്കുട്ടീ Mukkutti • Telugu: Pulicenta • Bengali: ঝলৈ Jhalai • Sanskrit: पंक्तिपत्र Panktipatra, झुल्लिपुष्प Jhullipuspa
Botanical name: Biophytum nervifolium    Family: Oxalidaceae (Wood sorrel family)
Synonyms: Biophytum sensitivum var. nervifolium

Little Tree Plant is known for its interesting characteristic similar to the of Touch-Me-Not. It is an annual herb which looks like a miniature palm, with unbranched stems up to 30 cm in height but usually shorter. The leaves are pinnately compound, numerous, crowded at the apex of the stem, and 5-12 cm long, with 8-14 pairs of leaflets. The leaflets gradually increases in size upward, being 1.5 centimeters long or less, oblong to oblong-ovate, and often somewhat curved. The leaflets close when touched. The flowers are many, and crowded at the apices of the numerous peduncles. The sepals are lanceolate, striate, and about 7 mm long. The 5 rounded petals are yellow with red markings. The fruit is a capsule which is shorter than the persistent calyx. During the festival of Onam in Kerala, intricate and colourful arrangements of flowers laid on the floor, called Pookalam are made. The flowers of mukkutti form an essential part of a Pookalam. Flowering: August-January.

Identification credit: Pravin Kawale, J.M. Garg Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra.

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