Nicobar Creeper
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Nicobar Creeper
ative Photo: Ritesh Choudhary
Common name: Nicobar Creeper
Botanical name: Phanera stipularis    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Bauhinia stipularis

Nicobar Creeper is a large, tendrilled climber with smooth branches. Stipules are prominent, circular to ovate-circular or kidney-shaped, leaf-like 1-2.8 cm. The species name stipularis comes from these large stipules. Leaf stalk is 2-4 cm long. Leaves are ovate-circular, 7-10 by 7-8 cm, 9-11-nerved, bilobed. Tips of lobes are blunt obtuse, base is shallowly heart-shaped. Flowers are borne in corymb-like to pyramidal racemes at the end of branches. Flowers stalks are 1-2 cm long. Bracts are varying, usually ovate or lanceolate, 7-15 mm long. Hypanthium is 1-1.5 cm, chanelled, with dilated base. Sepals cup splits early into 5 reflexed sepals. Petals are creamy-white turning yellowish, rarely pinkish red, densely woolly velvety on the outer side, 3-4.5 cm long, lanceshaped. During the maturing of flowers, margins of the petals becoming recurved, later the whole lamina recurved. Stamens are 3 fertile, filaments pink, hairless, 5-6 cm. Anthers are oblong, red, 5 mm. Staminodes are 2-3, 1.2-2 cm, sometimes with minute anthers. Style is 1-2.5 cm, with stigma large, peltate. Pods are woody, 15 by 4-6 cm, splitting open. Seeds are few, 2-2.5 cm diameter. Nicobar Creeper is native to the Nicobar island, Sumatra and parts of Malaya region.

Identification credit: Ritesh Choudhary Photographed at Great Nicobar Island.

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