Alpine Balanophora
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Alpine Balanophora
P Native Unknown Photo: Sunit Singh
Common name: Alpine Balanophora
Botanical name: Balanophora involucrata    Family: Balanophoraceae (Balanophora family)
Synonyms: Balania involucrata, Balania cathcartii, Bivolva cathcartii

Alpine Balanophora is an erect, hairless, fleshy root-parasitic herb, 10-13.5 cm tall, yellowish or red. Flower-cluster-stalks are stout or somewhat slender, bursting through the rootstock, sheathed half way up by an involucre of 2-4 partially fused scales, scales ovate, pointed or blunt. Flower-heads are monoecious or dioecious, ovoid, 19-25 x 14-18 mm, red or yellow. Male flowers: surrounding the base of the head (in monoecious forms). Flower limb max. breadth 4.9 mm; lobes broad, ovate-blunt, about 1.7 mm long; tip bilobed, if fused reflexed, rather thick. Anthers are fused, transversely oblong, 1.6-2 mm broad, on dehiscence emitting copious, yellow pollen. Female flowers are naked, numerous, interspersed with subglobulate to club-shaped bracts, 0.5-0.8 mm long. Alpine Balanophora is found in the forests of Himalayas, from Pakistan to China, at altitudes of 2300-3600 m. Flowering: July-September.

Identification credit: Sunit Singh Photographed at Kedarnath Uttarakhand.

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