Spanish Shawl
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Spanish Shawl
ntroduced Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Spanish Shawl, Pink lady, Trailing dissotis
Botanical name: Heterotis rotundifolia    Family: Melastomataceae (Melastome family)
Synonyms: Dissotis rotundifolia, Melastoma plumosum, Osbeckia rotundifolia

Spanish Shawl is an ornamental plant from Tropical Africa with beautiful pink flowers which look like Melastomes. Infact the plant belongs to the Melastome family. It is a prostrate, trailing herb with stems rooting at the nodes, up to 20 cm or more long. The stem can be hairy. Leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate or nearly circular, 1.5-7 cm long, 0.8-4 cm wide, 3-nerved, both surfaces sparsely to densely bristly. Leaf margins are somewhat toothed and ciliated, and the tip is acute. Leaf stalks are 0.5-2.5 cm long. Flowers stalks are densely covered with green, spreading, hair-like, linear-oblong appendages 2-4 mm long. Sepals are lancelike in fruit, 5-6.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide at base, bristly at apex and externally. Flowers have 5 pink petals 2 cm long, 1.5 cm wide. Stamens are prominent, and of two types. Anthers of larger stamens are pink or lavender, 7-8 mm long, with their base prolonged 3-4 mm and modified basally into a deeply 2-lobed spur 1.5-2 mm long. Anthers of smaller stamens are yellow, 5.5-7 mm long, connective prolonged 0.5 mm or less with a 2-lobed spur usually 0.5 mm long.

Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag Photographed at Veermata Jeejabai Bhosale Udyan, Mumbai.

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