Slender Chiretta
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Slender Chiretta
P Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Slender Chiretta
Botanical name: Andrographis gracilis    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Andrographis atropurpurea auct. non (Dennst.) Alston

Slender Chiretta is a herb, up to 80 cm highm with stems slender, 4-angled, hairless. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, in racemes 4-10 cm long, slender; axis hairless, 4-6-flowered, distantly arranged one-sided. Flowers are 2-lipped, about 1.2 cm across, white with pink shade; tube prominently swollen, 7-8 x 1.8-2.6 mm, glandular-hairy; upper lip spoon-shaped-oblong, about 7 x 2.7 mm, glandular-hairy outside, 5-veined; lower lip 3-lobed, 6-7 x 5-5.5 mm, glandular-hairy outside, dark purple-striped; middle lobe narrowly ovate, 2.5-3 x 2.2-2.7 mm, lateral lobes oblong, 1.4-1.6 mm across. Stamens are 2, protruding. Flower-stalks are slender, 3-5 mm long, glandular-velvet-hairy. Sepal-cup is 5-lobed; sepals nearly equal, linear, 2.5-3.5 x 0.2-0.3 mm. Leaves are ovate-lanceshaped, 3-7 x 0.5-2 cm, wedge-shaped or blunt at base, entire at margins, tapering at tip, lineolate, strigulose and black above and grey beneath when dry, minutely bristly towards margins to hairless; lateral veins 3-7 pairs, leaf-stalks 2-10 mm long, hairless. Capsules are inverted-lanceshaped, 18-20 x 3-3.5 mm, pointed at tip. Slender Chiretta is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: August-January.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu.

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