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Himalayan Enchanter's Nightshade   
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Himalayan Enchanter's Nightshade
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Himalayan Enchanter's Nightshade
Botanical name: Circaea alpina subsp. imaicola    Family: Onagraceae (Evening primrose family)
Synonyms: Circaea minutula, Circaea imaicola

Himalayan Enchanter's Nightshade is a perennial herb, 3.5-45 cm tall, simple or very rarely branched below the inflorescence, forming subterranean rhizomes terminated by tubers. Plants are velvet-hairy, the stem with short recurved hairs, the axis of the inflorescence with glandular or recurved hairs. Leaves are ovate to broadly ovate, less commonly circular ovate, pointed to very shortly tapering at the tip, broadly wedge-shaped to heartshaped but most commonly flat or rounded at the base, subentire to prominently toothed, pubescent, at least on the veins above. Largest leaf blades are 2-7 x 1.4-4.5 cm. Flower-stalks are 0.6-2.5 mm, hairless, erect or ascending at anthesis. Flower tube is up to 0.3 mm long. Sepals 2, 0.7-1.6 x 0.8-1.1 mm, white or pink tinged only at the tip, spreading at anthesis. Petals are 2, 0.5-1.8 x 0.7-1.5 mm, white or pink, narrowly to broadly obovate in outline, the apical notch 1/4-1/2 the length of the petal. are Stamens 2, erect or slightly spreading at anthesis, usually equalling the style. Style erect, 0.5-1.8 mm. Mature fruit 2.1-2.5 x 0.5-1.1 mm, unilocular, 1-seeded, clavate, tapering smoothly to the pedicel, densely covered with stiff uncinate hairs. Fruiting pedicels mostly spreading, less commonly slightly reflexed. Himalayan Enchanter's Nightshade is found in the Himalayas, from Afghanistan to Burma, Tibet and China, at altitudes of 2400-3400 m.

Identification credit: Nidhan Singh, D.S.Rawat Photographed in Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh.

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