Himalayan Pincushion Plant
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Himalayan Pincushion Plant
ative Photo: Ratna Ghosh
Common name: Himalayan Pincushion Plant
Botanical name: Diapensia himalaica    Family: Diapensiaceae (Pincushion Plant family)
Synonyms: Diapensia acutifolia

Himalayan Pincushion Plant is a small shrublet growing only up to 5 cm tall. Tiny leathery leaves are crowded on stems. Leaf blade is obovate, spoon-shaped, or lance-shaped, 2-5 mm long, 1-2.5 mm wide. The low-growing mat-like spread of the crowded leaves looks like a pincushion. Flowers are nearly stalkless, much larger than the leaves. Sepals are 5, free, purplish red, ovate at flowering. Flowers are pinkish red to rose-purple, occasionally white or yellow. Flower tube is bell-shaped, 4-8 mm, about twice as long as the sepals. Petals are inverted-egg shaped, broad at the end, and narrow at the base, spreading to 1 cm. Stamens are stalkless and can be seen sitting in the throat of the flowers. Capsule is pinkish red, broadly ellipsoid, about 8 x 3-4 mm. Himalayan Pincushion Plant is found in East Himalaya, from E Nepal to Bhutan, S. Tibet, N. Burma, W. China, at altitudes of 3600-4000 m. Flowering: May-June.

Identification credit: Ratna Ghosh Photographed en route to Gurdongmar Lake, Sikkim.

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