Hairy Gomphrena
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Hairy Gomphrena
ative Photo: Suresh V Kutty
Common name: Hairy Gomphrena • Malayalam: Meenangani
Botanical name: Platostoma hispidum    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Ocimum capitatum, Prunella indica, Acrocephalus hispidus

Hairy Gomphrena is an annual herb with stems 5-30 cm, usually much branched, rather slender, quadrangular, with a sparse indumentum of short eglandular hairs. Leaves are narrowly to broadly elliptic, about 2-4 x 1 cm, finely gland-dotted below, saw-toothed, stalked. Flowers are borne in round-ovoid heads, 5-15 x 5-9 mm. Bracts are quadrate-rhombic, sub-tending 4-6 flowers. Sepal cup is 2-lipped, about 1.5 mm in flower, with a thickish indumentum of white eglandular hairs at base of tube, with or without oil globules, teeth ciliate-fringed. Sepal in fruit is about 4 mm with an oblong, apically rounded upper lip and 4 narrow triangular lower teeth. Flowers are tiny, 2.5 mm, pale pink to purple, shortly 5-lobed. Stamens are 4, projecting straight forward, not protruding out. Hairy Gomphrena is found from Kashmir to Nepal, Bhutan, Western Ghats, Indo-China, Malaysia. Flowering: October-November.

Identification credit: Suresh V Kutty
Photographed in Palakkad, Kerala.
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