Mahakassapa Lepidagathis
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Mahakassapa Lepidagathis
P Native Photo: Sushant More
Common name: Mahakassapa Lepidagathis
Botanical name: Lepidagathis mahakassapae    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)

Mahakassapa Lepidagathis is a newly discovered (2022) species similar to Sabu's Lepidagathis. It is named for Brahmana Pippali Manav, later known as Mahakassapa, a prominent figure from ancient India and one of the principal disciples of Buddha. It is a perennial, prostrate, sub-shrub. It differs from Sabu's Lepidagathis in having inverted-lanceshaped leaves with tapering tip, versus linear leaves with spiny tip. Flowers spikes are at branch-ends, rarely in leaf-axils, velvet-hairy, 4-7 cm long, elongated spikes. In Sabu's Lepidagathis flower-spikes are hairless, in leaf-axils, 2.0-2.8 cm long, compact, box-shaped. The plant has minutely velvet-hairy bracts, large floral and small sterile bracts. Sabu's Lepidagathis has hairless bracts, floral and sterile bracts alike. The plant has the broader segment of bracteole lanceshaped versus inverted-lanceshaped in Sabu's Lepidagathis. Mahakassapa Lepidagathis is found on the plateaus of Satara district and is endemic to the state of Maharashtra. Flowering: February-May.

Identification credit: Sushant More Photographed in Satara, Maharashtra.

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