Lurid Coneflower
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Lurid Coneflower
P Native Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Lurid Coneflower • Malayalam: മുട്ടകന്നികുരിന്ജീ Muttakannikurinji
Botanical name: Strobilanthes luridus    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Didyplosandra lurida

Lurid Coneflower is a large straggling branched shrub, with stem thick, virgate, swollen at nodes, hairless. Flowers are borne in spikes, from older stems, often from near ground, opposite, rising up, uninterrupted, compact, about 8 x 4.5 cm, bristly. Flower-cluster-stalks are about 4 cm long. Bracts are round, large, about 2.5 x 2 cm, entire or wavy at margin, pointed, notched or flat at tip, ribbed, purple with black tinge; bracteoles are 2, strap-shaped, about 1.8 cm, pointed, white. Calyx is about 2 cm long, 5-lobed, near to the base; sepals lanceshaped, slightly enlarged in fruit with a row of bristles on lower face, finely ridged, about 2.2 cm long. Flowers are somewhat two-lipped, about 3 cm long, exceeding large dull bracts, tubular-swollen, purple, attractive. Flower-tube is about 2 mm long; swollen portion widening above gradually, hairless outside, hairy inside, 5-petalled. Petals are ovate, blunt, about 3 mm long. Stamens are 4, equal, united in pairs at base forming a staminal sheath, protruding; filaments about 1.5 cm long. Ovary is on a prominent disc, about 2.5 mm; style slender, about 2.5 cm long; stigma bilobed. Leaves are opposite, about 20 x10 cm, ovate-elliptic, blunt towards base, sawtoothed at margin, tapering at tip, leathery, hairy, densely so beneath; leaf-stalks up to 5 cm long, faintly hairy. Capsules are ovoid-ellipsoid, about 2 cm long, tapering, hairless, included in bracts. Lurid Coneflower is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: December-April.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed in Shola forest, Munnar, Kerala.

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