Whipcord Cobra Lily
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Whipcord Cobra Lily
ative Photo: Shaista Ahmad
Common name: Whipcord Cobra Lily • Hindi: Bagh Jandhra • Manipuri: ꯂꯤꯟ ꯆꯩꯁꯨ Lin cheisu • Marathi: Sardacha-jad • Kannada: Katu senai, Amu-mani-gidda • Konkani: Sarpache-kamdo • Nepali: सर्पको मकै Sarpako Makai, बाँको Baanko, बीरबाँको Beerabaanko
Botanical name: Arisaema tortuosum    Family: Araceae (Arum family )

The names comes from its cobra like appearance, with a whip-like tongue, upto 12" long, rising up vertically. Native to open Rhododendron forests, scrub and alpine meadows in the Himalaya from India to western China. The thick 4' tall fleshy petiole (stalk) emerges in early June, adorned by two tropical looking palmate green leaves near the top. As the leaves unfurl, the pitcher that tops the stem opens to reveal a green Jack-in-the-pulpit flower, but with a whip-like tongue that extends from the mouth of the flower upwards to 12 or more inches. In autumn, bright red berries ripen on the tall stem of those plants that have set seed. This wonderful plant for the woodland garden starts out about 50 cm tall, but it can eventually attain 2 m and form large clumps. Native from the Himalaya and western China to southern India and Myanmar (Burma), it is highly variable, as one might expect. Sometimes the spadix-appendage is green, other times it is purple.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Kufri, Himachal Pradesh & Maharashtra.

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