Alpine Deadnettle
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Alpine Deadnettle
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Alpine Deadnettle
Botanical name: Eriophyton rhomboideum    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Lamium rhomboideum, Alajja rhomboidea, Erianthera rhomboidea

Alpine Deadnettle is a high altitude perennial herb with a creeping thick woody rootstock. Stems are few to several, unbranched, slender at base with leaf-like scales, thicker above, velvety to woolly with simple hairs, leafy, decumbent-ascending, 10-25 cm long. Leaves are often congested, broadly rhomboid-kidney-shaped, upper larger than lower, about 3.5-5 cm long, 4-6 cm broad, variable in woolliness from densely white woolly to velvety and almost hairless, toothed, flat at base to broadly wedge-shaped. Leaf stalks on lower leaves are broad, up to 2 cm below less above. Flowers are few, large, 4-8 in upper leaf axils, stalkless. Bracts are subulate, shorter than calyces. Calyx is 1.5-1.8 cm long, woolly to velvety, tube straight, herbaceous. Teeth are nearly equal lanceshaped, subulate-acuminate. Flowers are 3-4 cm, velvety. Lower lip is equal to or longer than upper. Nutlets are obovoid, smooth, about 5 mm. Alpine Deadnettle is an unmistakable high alpine scree species. It is reported to have a strong unpleasant smell. It is found in the Himalayas, from E. Afghanistan to Himachal Pradesh, at altitudes of 4000-5000 m. Flowering: July-August.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed in Lahaul distt., Himachal Pradesh.

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