Spreading Justicia
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Spreading Justicia
P Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Spreading Justicia
Botanical name: Justicia diffusa    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Rostellularia diffusa, Justicia simplex Lindau, Justicia linarifolia

Spreading Justicia is a much branched, basally woody, 30-50 cm tall herb with striped, quadrangular, sparsely hairy twigs. Leaves are carried on 4-10 mm long leaf-stalks; blade elliptic-lanceshaped, 2-4 x 1-2 cm, entire, becoming hairless on vein and margin, base and tip pointed, cystoliths irregularly scattered, lineolate. Flowers are borne in narrow spike-like clusters at branch-ends or in leaf-axils, erect up to 6 cm long. Flowers are small, about 6-8 mm long, pink or pale-purple; bracts ovate, about 2-3 mm long, hairless, pointed-tapering with scarious margins; bracteoles shorter than sepals. Calyx are 4-lobed to near the base, sepals lanceshaped, 3-3.5 mm long, equal margins hairless, scarious, pointed. Flowers are 5-6 mm long, slightly hairy outside, tube about 3.5 mm long, upper lip about 2 mm long, notched, lower lip broad, about 4.5 mm long, 3-lobed. Staminal are filaments about 2 mm long. Ovary is hairless with thread-like, about 3 mm long hairy style. Capsules are oblong, about 4-5 mm long, hairless. Seeds ovate, minutely papillate. Spreading Justicia is found in South and SE Asia. Flowering: April-August.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Malampuzha, Palakkad distt., Kerala.

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