Spiny White Barleria
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Spiny White Barleria
P Native Photo: Sushant More
Common name: Spiny White Barleria • Hindi: वज्रदन्ती Vajradanti
Botanical name: Barleria acanthoides    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Barleria noctiflora, Barleria trinervis, Wahabia longiflora

Spiny White Barleria is a small, pungent, much branched shrublet, up to 2 ft, densely greyish-velvet-hairy, armed with simple, up to 5-6 mm long thorns in leaf axils. Flowers are white, large, 6-7.5 cm long, in 1-8-flowered, congested, scorpioid racemes. Flowers mostly open in the night. Flower tube is cylindrical 5-6 cm long, slightly widened below the 5-lobed limb, petals ovate, 6-10 mm long, pointed. Sepal-cup is deeply lobed; outer 2 sepals broadly ovate, 1.2-1.7 cm x about 8-10 mm, nearly equal, sharply with a short sharp point, becoming yellowish-brown; inner sepals lanceshaped, 7-8 mm long. Bracts are leafy, membranous, elliptic, 1.2-1.5 cm long, pinnatetly cut, spiny or reduced to pinnately cut spines. Leaves are on 4-7 mm long, hairy leaf-stalk; blade dark green, oblong-ovate or obovate, 1.5-4 x 12-20 mm, basally narrowed, velvet-hairy on both sides, margins entire, tip bluntly with a short sharp point. Capsules are ellipsoid, 1-1.2 cm x 4-5 mm, narrowed at both ends, hairless, 4-seeded, ovoid, 3-4 mm in diameter, silky hairy. It is a highly variable species in the size of leaves and macro, outer sepal spines of bracts and length of the flower tube and petals. The plant is used as a fodder for goats and camels. Spiny White Barleria is native to Egypt to N. Tanzania, Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan to NW India. Flowering: September-February.

Identification credit: Sushant More Photographed in Barmer, Rajasthan.

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