Water Thyme
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Water Thyme
ative Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Water Thyme, hydrilla • Bengali: Jhangi, kureli, saola • Hindi: Jhangi, kureli • Malayalam: ene-pael • Manipuri: ꯆꯔꯥꯡ Charang • Marathi: Seval, Shakharisheval • Nepali: खसी Khasi • Tamil: amiranappaci, cikavalakam, cimpaka • Telugu: poonaachu, valakada
Botanical name: Hydrilla verticillata    Family: Hydrocharitaceae (Tape Grass family)
Synonyms: Hydrilla ovalifolia, Hydrilla polysperma, Serpicula verticillata, Vallisneria verticillata

Water Thyme is an aquatic herb native to India and S. Asia, naturalized all over the world. It has off-white to yellowish rhizomes growing in sediments at the water bottom at up to 2 m depth. The stems grow up to 1-2 m long. The leaves are arranged in whorls of 2-8 around the stem, each leaf 0.5-2 cm long and 0.7-2 mm broad, with serrations or small spines along the leaf margins. The leaf midrib is often reddish when fresh. It is monoecious (sometimes dioecious), with male and female flowers produced separately on a single plant. The flowers are small, with three sepals and three petals, the petals 3-5 mm long, transparent with red streaks. It reproduces primarily vegetatively by fragmentation and by rhizomes and turions (overwintering buds), and flowers are rarely seen. Water Thyme is nativeto E. Europe to Asia, Australia, Uganda to N. Zambia. It is aso found in the Himalayas, at altitudes of 600-1600 m.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Manipur & Delhi.

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