East-Indian Stone Flower
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East-Indian Stone Flower
P Native Photo: Dipankar Borah
Common name: East-Indian Stone Flower
Botanical name: Didymocarpus hookeri    Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)
Synonyms: Roettlera hookeri

East-Indian Stone Flower is a perennial, 7-20 cm tall (including inflorescence), growing among rocks. Stem is erect, densely appressed velvet-hairy, green-purplish. Leaves are in 2-4 pairs on stem; lower one usually in whorl of 4, sometimes 3, of varying types, long-stalked; middle and uppers opposite, usually same form, sometimes of different form, nearly stalkless or short-stalked; blade ovate-elliptic or broadly ovate-broadly elliptic, 3.5-20 x 2.5-10 cm, tip pointed to blunt, sometimes rounded, base somewhat heart-shaped or oblique, margins bi-rounded toothed or bi-sawtoothed, both surfaces appressed velvet-hairy, midrib with 5-9 lateral veins on each side, depressed above, raised below; leaf-stalks 1-12 cm long, green-purplish. Inflorescences are 2-5, 8-28-flowered, at branch-end cymes, rarely 1 or 2 in leaf-axil cymes from second uppermost leaves, each cymule pair-flowered. Flower-cluster-stalk is 2-5 cm long, green or with light purplish tinge; flower-stalks 3.5-7 mm long, sparsely glandular velvet-hairy, green or with light purplish tinge; bracts 2, free, broadly ovate, 2.5-4 mm long, light green. Sepal-cup is bell-shaped, hairless inside and outside, eglandular, light green; tube 2.5-4 mm long; sepals 5, triangular-ovate, 2-3.5 mm long, equal or subequal, tip pointed, margins entire. Flowers are white-creamy, glandular velvet-hairy outside, hairless inside; tube 2.5-3 cm long, tubular, slightly constricted in the middle, gradually widening above the middle, limb 2-lipped; upper lip 2-lobed, broadly ovate-triangular, 3.5-4.5 mm long; lower lip 3-lobed, oblong- ovate, 5-7 mm long. Stamens are 2, inserted near the middle of the flower tube; filaments 6-8 mm long; staminodes 3, 1-2 mm long. Style is 6-8 mm long, hairless. Capsules are linear, 3-4 cm long, hairless. East-Indian Stone Flower is endemic to NE India, found up to altitudes of 1600-2000 m. Flowering: June-October.

Identification credit: Dipankar Borah Photographed en-route to Cherapunjee, Meghalaya.

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