Two-Headed Coneflower
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Two-Headed Coneflower
P Native Photo: Saroj Kasaju
Common name: Two-Headed Coneflower
Botanical name: Strobilanthes capitata    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Goldfussia capitata, Ruellia biceps, Strobilanthes biceps

Two-Headed Coneflower is a subshrub to perennial herb, up to 1 m tall, much branched, with variable leaves. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, in stalked heads, often two, ovoid to ellipsoid, 1.5-2 x 1-3 cm, 1-3 per axil, sometimes forming a panicle of heads with reduced leaves; flower-cluster-stalk 1-6 cm. Flower blue, 4.3-5.5 cm, straight, outside thinly hairy, inside hairless; tube basally cylindric and narrow for about 1.5 cm then gradually widened to about 1.5 cm at mouth; lobes oblong, about 5 x 4 mm. Stamens 4, not protruding. Sepal-cup is pale green, about 1.2 cm, enlarging to about 2 cm in fruit, 5-lobed almost to base; sepals linear-inverted-lanceshaped, margin fringed with hairs. Stems are prostrate to rising up, hairy, becoming hairless. Leaf-stalk is 1-3 cm; leaf blade lanceshaped, elliptic-ovate, or elliptic, 4-14 x 1.5-9 cm, below velvet-hairy along veins but often becoming hairless, above sparsely hairy and with numerous protrusions, secondary veins 6 or 7 on each side of midvein, base narrowed and oblique, margin sawtoothed, tip tapering. Capsule oblong, 1.4-2 cm, apical half gland-tipped hairy, 4-seeded. Two-Headed Coneflower is found in forests in Bhutan, NE India, Myanmar, Nepal and China, at altitudes of 900-1700 m. Flowering: September-February.

Identification credit: John Wood Photographed in Kalimpong, West Bengal.

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