Purple Dragonhead
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Purple Dragonhead
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Purple Dragonhead
Botanical name: Dracocephalum wallichii    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Purple Dragonhead is a perennial herb with stems erect or rising, 24-50 cm, sparsely vevety basally, densely velvety at the top, with 2-4 nodes below dense spikes. Stalks of basal leaves are 4.5-9 cm, that of stem leaves are as long as blade to sometimes absent. Leaves are ovate to broadly ovate, 2-5.5 × 1.5-4.2 cm, sparsely velvety or hairless above, densely velvety or occasionally hairless below, base heart-shaped, apex rounded to blunt. Flowers are borne in heads at branch ends or in interrupted spikes 3-3.5 cm. Floral leaves are stalkless, ovate; bracts green-purple, purple-black veined, rhombic-obovate to oblate, as long as calyx, margin acute or short spinescent to 3-6-serrate, veins and margin densely villous. Sepal cup is 1.4-1.7 cm, conspicuously purple veined at base, tinged purple black at apex, hairy, 2-lipped 1/3-1/2 its length. Flowers are dark purple, 2-3 cm, velvety, tube 3-6 mm wide; upper lip navicular, about 5 mm; lower lip spreading, with dark spots, 3-lobed; middle lobe of lower lip obovate, apex emarginate. Nutlets are dark brown, elliptic-obovoid, flattened, about 3.5 mm. Purple Dragonhead is found in the Himalayas, from Garhwal to Bhutan, Tibet and China, at altitudes of 3000-5000 m. Flowering: July-September.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed at Rohtang pass, Himachal Pradesh.

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