Alpine Bistort
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Alpine Bistort
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Alpine Bistort, Alpine Knotweed, Harerug • Nepali: खाल्ती Khalti
Botanical name: Bistorta vivipara    Family: Polygonaceae (Knotweed family)
Synonyms: Polygonum viviparum, Persicaria vivipara

Alpine Knotweed is a perennial herb characterized by solitary slender spikes of small pink or white flowers. Lower flowers on the spike are usually replaced by brown or purple bulbils, small bulb-like structures. Flowers rarely produce viable seeds and reproduction is normally by the bulbils. Very often a small leaf develops when the bulbil is still attached to the mother plant. The species name vivipara means giving birth to live offspring. Spikes are 2.5-10 cm long, and flowers are about 3 mm, but variable, more or less erect (petals not spreading). Stamens protrude out, with dark anthers. Bracts are ovate long-pointed. Leaves are leathery, variable, linear to oblong, up to 10 cm long, pointed or blunt, with margins often inrolled. Lower leaves are stalked, while the upper ones are stalkless. Stipules are papery, up to 4 cm long. Stem is erect, 4-40 cm, arising from a thick rootstock covered with old fibrous leaf-bases. Sometimes it can be a very slender plant up to only 10 cm tall, with linear leaves. Alpine Knotweed is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to SW China, at altitudes of 3300-5000 m. Flowering: June-July.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand & Tawang district, Arunachal Pradesh.

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