Humboldt's Stone Flower
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Humboldt's Stone Flower
P Native Photo: C. Rajasekar
Common name: Humboldt's Stone Flower
Botanical name: Henckelia humboldtiana    Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)
Synonyms: Didymocarpus humboldtianus, Roettlera humboldtiana

Humboldt's Stone Flower is a herbs with flowers borne on a leafless stem. It is named for Baron Alexander von Humboldt, 19th century German geographer who explored Central and South America. Flowering stems are few, 15-20 cm long, branched. Flower-racemes are glandular hairy; bracts and bracteoles similar, linear. Flowers are blue, paired, borne on flower-stalks 1.5 cm long; sepals 3.5 x 1 mm, oblong, blunt. Flowers are 1.3 cm long, thinly hairy, mouth oblique, petals round; staminodes hooked; ovary densely glandular-hairy, stigma oblique, papillose. Leaves are up to 6-7 x 6 cm, broadly ovate, blunt, rounded or heart-shaped at base, broadly rounded toothed, bullate-woolly above, woolly beneath; nerves 5-6 pairs; leaf-stalk 5-8 cm long, wings divided. Capsule 4 x 0.2 cm, tapering, glandular hairy; seeds ellipsoid, rugate, brown. Humboldt's Stone Flower is found in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Flowering: September-November.

Identification credit: C. Rajasekar Photographed in Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.

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