Dalhousie Blue Bells
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Dalhousie Blue Bells
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Dalhousie Blue Bells • Hindi: Machine mashian
Botanical name: Strobilanthes pentastemonoides var. dalhousieana    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Strobilanthes pentstemonoides var. dalhousieana, Strobilanthes dalhousianus, Goldfussia dalhousiana

Dalhousie Blue Bells is a nearly erect perennial herb up to 3 ft tall, with young shoots hairy and woody rootstock. It is can be easily confused with Blue Trumpet Bush. Leaves are nearly stalkless or sometimes the base narrowing into a, up to 2.5 cm long, winged stalk. Leaf blade is elliptic or ovate-elliptic, 12-25 x 4-6.5 cm, hairy to hairless on both sides, base narrowed, margin toothed, tip long-pointed. Flowers are dark blue to purple, about 3.5 cm long, in heads or condensed spikes. Bracts are small, circular-oblong, about 7-8 mm long, falling off. Bracteoles are similar to but smallar than bracts. Sepals are 5, unequal, linear-oblong, 7-8 mm long, the longest lobe about 1 cm long, glandular-hairy to almost hairless, blunt, enlarged in fruit. Flowers are hairless, tube pale, curved, limb about 1.5-1.8 cm across, with rounded lobes. Stamen-filaments are hairless. Capsule is oblong, about 1.5 cm long, glandular-velvet-hairy, 4-seeded. Seeds are ovate, about 4 mm long, silky hairy. Dalhousie Blue Bells is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to N. India, common at altitudes of 1800-2600 m. It flowers annually, unlike some Strobilanthes which flower once in few years. Flowering: July-October.

Identification credit: Alok Mahendroo Photographed in Dhanaulti, Uttarakhand.

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