Large-Spike Stone Flower
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Large-Spike Stone Flower
P Native Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Large-Spike Stone Flower
Botanical name: Henckelia macrostachya    Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)
Synonyms: Didymocarpus macrostachyus

Large-Spike Stone Flower is a perennial herb growing on rocks, producing tall flowering-stems. It was thought to be extinct, but was rediscovered in 2013, after a gap of 75 years. Leaves are all in a rosette at the bottom. Blades are oblong to narrowly ovate, 11-27 x 4-12 cm, leathery, dull-green and velvety with a dense mat of curved hairs above, pale-brown below, abruptly narrowed basally, obscurely rounded toothed marginally, rounded at tip, lateral nerves 6–9 pairs. Flowering stems are 1 or more, rather stout, round, erect, grooved on 2 opposite sides, up to 2 ft tall, densely pale-brown woolly; bracts minute. Sepals are ovate, blunt, 0.6 x 0.3 cm, 3 broad, 2 narrow, hairless and 3-nerved within, densely woolly without. Flowers are broadly bell-shaped, about 1 x 2 cm across, oblique; petals round, pale-blue, downy without and dotted with small, stalkless glands. Stamens are 2. Capsules are linear, stout, 1.5-2.5 cm long, pointed, light-brown woolly. Seeds are minute, ovoid, flattened. Large-Spike Stone Flower is very rare, in Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: August-September.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed in Eravikulam National Park, Munnar, Kerala.

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