Tawang Lousewort
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Tawang Lousewort
P Native Photo: Dipankar Borah
Common name: Tawang Lousewort, Tawang Pedicularis
Botanical name: Pedicularis khoiyangii    Family: Orobanchaceae (Broomrape family)

Tawang Lousewort is a new discovered (2020) perennial, erect herbs, 0.5-2 m tall, becoming black after drying. It is named after Late Mr. Hawtoo Khoiyang, a much admired botanist. Flowers are borne at branch-ends, in dense racemes, many-flowered, 20-80 cm long, silky hairy; distal bracts ovate, shorter than flower, proximal bracts leaf-like, longer than flowers. Flowers are 2.2-2.6 cm long, nearly stalkless; flower-stalks 0.6-1 mm long, silky hairy. Sepal-cup is bell-shaped, hairless inside, densely silky hairy outside, membranous, 10-nerved, light yellowish-green; tube 1.0-1.2 cm long, 5-toothed; teeth triangular, equal, 1.8-2.2 mm long, margins entire. Flowers are yellow, 2.1-2.5 mm long; tube 1.1-1.3 cm long, hairless inside, sparsely velvet-hairy outside; galea boat-shaped, 9-11 mm long, bent away from labium; labium as long as galea, 3-lobed, hairless above, silky velvet-hairy beneath, margins fringed with hairs; lateral lobes 4-5 x 1.8-2.2 mm, obovate; midlobe 4.5-6 x 2.5-3.5 mm, broadly obovate. Stamens are arranged in pairs, all equal, inserted at the base of flower tube, hairless; anthers 1.7-2 x 1.3-1.5 mm, yellow, filaments 1.2-1.5 cm long, cylindrical, hairless, pale white. Style is 2.0-2.5 cm long, cylindrical, projecting 2.5-4.5 mm beyond galea. Stem is round, rigid, fistular, striped, bristly; roots, stout, woody, rootlets many, tuberous. Leaves are alternate, linear-lanceshaped, stem-clasping, 8-15 x 1.5-2.3 cm, pinnately divided, somewhat leathery, tip pointed, base eared, above sparsely velvet-hairy, below velvet-hairy on midrib only, midrib depressed above, prominent beneath; segments 18-22 pairs, ovate-oblong, margins irregularly double toothed-sawtoothed. Capsules are 1.4-1.7 cm long, oblong-ovoid, tip short tapering. Tawang Lousewort is apparently endemic to the two localities, Sela pass and Taktsang of Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is found in Eastern Himalaya at 3700-4200 m altitudes, in rocky grassland and along the stream beds, in alpine meadows and shrubberies. Flowering: August-September.

Identification credit: Dipankar Borah Photographed in Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh.

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