Tree Dahlia
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Tree Dahlia
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Tree dahlia • Nepali: रुख लाहुरे Rukh lahure
Botanical name: Dahlia imperialis    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Tree dahlia, a perennial native to southern Mexico and Central America, has similar habits to the regular garden dahlia, but with one big difference — it can shoot up to towering heights in short time spans. The delicate tree dahlia bears huge leaves and shaggy lavender flowers with yellow centres. Its stems are tall, straight and thin, much like bamboo stems. The dramatic, pendulous flowers bloom from late autumn — generally in May and June. Very beautiful foliage, the long branches sprouting from the main trunk look somewhat like maroon bamboo with foliage, and are actually hollow inside when cut. Interesting plant to grow. After the flower fades, a brown "bud" of dry petals will appear. These petals blow off in the wind, carrying one seed per petal. It is easy to pluck the whole brown bud off.The tree is very sensitive to water, with leaves turning brown any time there is too little or too much water, but it grows so quickly it always has plenty of leaves anyway.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Ukhrul, Manipur & Mizoram.

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