Purple Pincushion Plant
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Purple Pincushion Plant
P Native Photo: Ratna Ghosh
Common name: Purple Pincushion Plant
Botanical name: Diapensia purpurea    Family: Diapensiaceae (Pincushion Plant family)

Purple Pincushion Plant is a ground-hugging shrublet 3-10 cm high. Flowers are nearly stalkless, pinkish red, occasionally white or yellow. Flower-tube is 4.5-6 x 10-13 mm, petals obovate to broadly elliptic, about 6-6.5 x 4-4.5 mm, tip pointed. Sepals are spoon-shaped to oblong, 5-6 x 1-3.5 mm, almost as long as long as the flower-tube. This is an identifying feature which clearly separates it from Himalayan Pincushion Plant which has flower-tube almost twice as long as the sepals. Staminodes are 5, hairless. Style 2-15.5 mm, shorter to longer than flower tube; stigma slightly headlike to obscurely lobed. Leaves are crowded on stem; leaf-stalks 2-6 mm, half-stem-clasping, persistent; leaf blade spoon-shaped-elliptic to oblong, 3-4 x 1.5-2.5 mm, above very finely papillose and without stomates, base gradually narrowed and narrowed into leaf-stalk, margin entire and at tip slightly curled, tip rounded to blunt. Purple Pincushion Plant is found on mountain summits, bare rock faces, at altitudes of 2600-4500 m, in China South-Central, East Himalaya, Myanmar, Tibet. Flowering: May-June.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed en route to Gurdongmar Lake, Sikkim.

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