Temple Mint
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Temple Mint
P Introduced Photo: Oishani Santra
Common name: Temple Mint, Starhorn, Giant hygro
Botanical name: Hygrophila corymbosa    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Justicia roxburghiana, Nomaphila corymbosa, Echinacanthus javanicus

Temple Mint is a herbaceous aquatic plant that can grow either emerged or fully submerged. The entire plant is covered with glandular hairs. The stems are four-edged and are rooted in the lower nodes. The leaves are opposite, with blades ovate-lanceshaped to ovate-elliptic, 5-12 cm long and 2 to 5 cm wide, dark green in the bundle (sometimes reddish in the submerged leaves) and whitish green on the underside, the margin is whole to crenulated or wavy. The flowers are arranged in corymbs in leaf-axils, and the flowers are purple with small white spots on the lower lip. The fruit is an elongated capsule of 7.5-11 mm long, with numerous discoid seeds. The plant is adaptable to a variety of water conditions. It can be easily propagated by taking cuttings and planting them in the substrate. Temple Mint is native to Thailand, Philippines, cultivated worldwide. It has reportedly become invasive in Mexico.

Identification credit: Kalyan Brata Santra Photographed in cultivation in Malda, West Bengal.

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