Palghat Coneflower
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Palghat Coneflower
P Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Palghat Coneflower
Botanical name: Strobilanthes dupeni    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Kanjarum palghatense Ramam.

Palghat Coneflower is a shrub, up to 3 m tall, sporting blue or white cone-like flowers. In 1996 it was rediscovered after a gap of 112 years after its first discovery. It is listed as a rare, endemic and endangered species. Flower tube is 2-2.5 cm long, petals 0.5-0.7 x 0.4-0.5 cm, blue, stamens 4 united by pairs, in a short sheath at base ovary hairless style slender, stigma linear. Calyx deeply 5-lobed nearly 1/3 to the base, sepals 1-1.5 cm long, linear, green, tapering, almost hairless. Bracts are 2-2.5 x 1-1.5 cm, 4 -ranked, ovate, blunt-retuse, reddish, closely overlapping, decurrent at base; bracteoles 0.3-0.4 cm long, linear-lanceshaped. Flowers are bone in spikes 3-6 cm long, large, sub-tetragonous-oblong, at branch-ends and lateral on short flower-cluster-stalks, dense sticky, slightly hairy. Leaves are 5-14 x 3-9 cm, ovate, tapering, heart-shaped, rounded toothed, velvet-hairy on both surfaces, main nerves 7-10 pairs, leaf-stalks 2-8.5 cm long.Capsules are 0.8-1.2 cm long, ellipsoid, hairless; seeds 4, hairy. Palghat Coneflower is found in the Southern Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Identification credit: Dr. Murugan Photographed in Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Distt. Kannur, Kerala.

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