Nepal Thornsepal
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Nepal Thornsepal
P Native Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Nepal Thornsepal
Botanical name: Acanthocalyx nepalensis    Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle family)
Synonyms: Morina nepalensis D.Don, Acanthocalyx delavayi

Nepal Thornsepal is a close cousin of the Whorlflower, but a much smaller plant. Flowering stems are only 8-15 cm high. Flowers are pinkish-purple, few in closely grouped whorls, forming a dense head at the top. Below the cluster are leaf-like bracts with prominent long bristles (not spines). Flower-tube is 1-1.5 cm long, curved, petals nearly equal, about 3 mm. Calyx is tube-shaped, green below, purple above, or entirely purple, 7-15 mm; tube about half as long as total length of calyx; fissure large, edges hairy and toothed-spiny; spines usually 5, irregularly arranged. Fertile stamens are 4, do not protrude out. Rosette leaves are lanceshaped or linear-lanceshaped, less frequently linear, 10-25 x 0.5-2.6 cm, both surfaces hairless, base narrowed, sheathing, margins usually bristly or spiny, tip pointed to tapering. Stem leaves are 2-4-paired, elliptic to linear-lanceshaped, reduced above; lowermost pair often reduced, subovate or spoon-shaped, spineless; uppermost pair densely spiny at base. Nepal Thornsepal is found in Eastern Himalayas, from W Nepal to Sikkim and SW China, at altitudes of 3000-4400 m. Flowering: June-August.

Identification credit: Sudhansu Sekhar Dash, Saroj Kumar Kasaju, Bernhard Dickore Photographed beyond Tsomgo lake, Sikkim.

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