Masters Coneflower
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Masters Coneflower
P Native Photo: Momang Taram
Common name: Masters Coneflower • Adi: Tagam
Botanical name: Strobilanthes mastersii    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Strobilanthes aborensis, Goldfussia scoriarum, Strobilanthes scoriarum

Masters Coneflower is a herb 1-1.5 m tall, with stems 4-angled, erect, grooved, hairless to gland-tipped hairy. It is named for John William Masters, 19th century gardener who worked at the Botanical Garden in Calcutta. Leaf-stalks are 0-2 cm with upper leaves stalkless, nearly hairless. Leaf blade is ovate to ovate-lanceshaped, 10-15 x 4-7 cm, hairless, secondary veins 5-10 on each side of midvein, base broadly wedge-shaped on basal leaves and rounded on upper leaves, margin sawtoothed, tip tapering. Flowers are borne at branch-ends, in panicles of spikes, narrowly ovoid, up to 30 cm; flower-cluster-stalk and axis hairless when young, densely gland-tipped hairy at maturity; sterile bracts leaflike, lanceshaped to ovate, 5-15 × 3-8 mm, tardily falling off, tip tapering. floral bracts are elliptic, 5-6 x 2-3 mm, falling off, tip blunt; bracteoles oblong, about 3 × 1 mm, falling off, below hairless. Flowers are arranged in opposite pairs or solitary through abortion. Calyx 0.8-1.2 cm, 5-lobed almost to base; sepals lanceshaped, with 3 sepals slightly longer than other 2, tip tapering. Flowers are purple, 2.5-3 cm, straight, swollen, outside hairless, inside hairless except for trichomes retaining style; tube basally cylindric and about 2 mm wide for 1-1.3 cm then widened to about 1 cm at mouth; lobes are round, about 5 mm in diam. Stamens are 4, not protruding out. Style is about 2.1 cm, slender, sparsely hairy on basal part. Capsules are club-shaped, about 1.5 cm. In Arunachal Pradesh, dried leaves are used as tobacco. Masters Coneflower is found in forests on mountain slopes, uptill altitudes of 1500 m, from Arunachal Pradesh to Yunnan, China. Flowering: September-January.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh

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