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aturalized Photo: Amit Kumar
Common name: Candyleaf, roundleaf candyleaf
Botanical name: Stevia ovata    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Candyleaf is a multi-stemmed straggly shrub, 40-80 cm tall, with arching canes topped by clusters of white daisy flower. Both the leaves and branches are arranged opposite each other. Leaf-stalks are 2-10 mm long. Leaf blades have raised venation (generally limited to mid-vein and primary laterals). Leaves are variable in shape but generally ovate to trullate and mostly 3-6 cm long with serrate margins. The stem has a furry appearance that darkens to a reddish hue at the base. Flower heads are arranged in more or less congested, compact clusters. Peduncles are 1-2 mm, sessile-glandular and finely villous. Involucres are 4–6 mm. Phyllaries are sessile-glandular and finely villous; apices rounded to blunt or obtuse. Flowers are white or light pink. Candyleaf is native to tropical America, from the mountains of Texas south to the mountains of Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. It has naturalized in parts of India.

Identification credit: G.S. Rawat
Photographed in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.
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