Pale Grass Lily
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Pale Grass Lily
ative Herb Photo: Rahul Prabhu Khanolkar
Common name: Pale Grass Lily • Marathi: Bhui chakra, Markallai • Tamil: Nir panai
Botanical name: Iphigenia pallida    Family: Colchicaceae (Colchicum family)

Pale grass lily, while not in flower, is not particularly conspicuous, though occurring naturally in open, sunlit meadows up to an elevation of 7,000 ft. The grass-like plants, 10" tall, stand erect amidst grass. The leaves are slender, sessile and cauline. Only one-third of an inch wide, the dark green leaves tend to curl out at the ends. The plants have tubers and fibrous roots near the surface of the soil. One can dig in and separate a plant with one's fingers. When bruised, they smell like onion. The plants grow in tight bunches. The flower stalks sprout straight from the ground during rains. The flowers are like six-pointed stars. The hybrid and cultivated flowers come in several shades - pink, orange and dark blue. The fruit is a three-valved capsule. The porcelain fine flowers are ideal for table tops and window sills. Propagation is by separating flowers during the dormant season and planting them in well drained soil in the sunny area of a garden. The plants are happy in pots too and need profuse watering; they however, do not stand waterlogging. This plant is native to India.

Identification credit: Rahul Prabhu Khanolkar, Milind Sardesai Photographed in Maharashtra

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