Lax Hornpod
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Lax Hornpod
aturalized Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Lax Hornpod
Botanical name: Mitreola petiolata    Family: Loganiaceae (Logania family)
Synonyms: Ophiorrhiza mitreola, Cynoctonum mitreola, Mitreola paniculata

Lax Hornpod is an annual herb 10-50 cm tall, hairless except for sparsely velvet-hairy young leaves, inside of petals at base, and fruit. Stems are erect, simple or branched at base; branches 4-angled to narrowly 4-winged; internodes 1.5-6 cm. Stipules are triangular, 1-2 mm. Leaf-stalks are 3-10 mm. Leaves are ovate to narrowly ovate, 4-7 X 1.5-3 cm, membranous to papery, base wedge-shaped, tip long-pointed to blunt, lateral veins 5-7 pairs and inconspicuous. Flowers are borne at branch ends of in leaf axils, in 6-10 cm long, many-flowered clusters. The stalk carrying the cluster is up to 7 cm long. Bracts and bracteoles are narrowly elliptic, 1-2 mm. Flower-stalks are very short. Sepals are lobes ovate to triangular, about 1 X 0.5 mm. Flowers are white, about 3 mm, tube as long as petals, petls narrowly ovate, tip blunt. Stamens are inserted at or near base of the flower-tube. Anthers are broadly ovate, apex at middle of corolla tube. Ovary is ovoid to spherical, smooth. Style is shorter than ovary, free to base; stigma capitate. Capsules are 3 mm in diameter, pincerlike due to incurved apical horns, giving the plant its common name. Seeds are ellipsoid, about 0.5 mm, concave on one side, smooth. Lax Hornpod is native to the American continents, now pantropical in distribution, found at altitudes of 600-1000 m. Flowering: May-October.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal
Photographed in Sirmaur Distt, Himachal Pradesh.
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