Chinese Rain Bell
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Chinese Rain Bell
ative Photo: N. Arun Kumar
Common name: Chinese Rain Bell, Assam Indigo • Mizo: Ramting, Tu-mau
Botanical name: Strobilanthes hamiltoniana    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Strobilanthes colorata, Ruellia hamiltoniana

Chinese Rain Bell originates from the warm temperate to subtropical regions of the Himalayas, Burma and Thailand. It is naturalised all over the tropics and widely commercially available. It is readily identified by the much branched, diffuse inflorescences bearing purple flowers, and the secondary veins which protrude from the leaf surface. It is a soft stemmed evergreen shrub often seen as an open shrub to 1 to 2 m high. This plant needs moist soils to grow well. The drooping dark green leaves are slightly glossy with distinctive rib-like veins and edges. Delicate purplish bell-shaped flowers are produced on long and wispy inflorescence. The flowers appear to be suspended in mid-air well above and beyond the edges of leaves. Flowers appear throughout autumn, winter and into spring. Chinese Rain Bell is found in C-E Nepal, Bhutan, China, NE India, Myanmar, Sikkim, at altitudes of 400-1500 m, and is cultivated throughout the tropics.

Identification credit: N. Arun Kumar
Photographed in Bangalore.
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