Water Shrub-Mint
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Water Shrub-Mint
A Native Photo: Manoranjan Paramanik
Common name: Water Shrub-Mint, Water Star
Botanical name: Pogostemon stellatus    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Mentha stellata, Pogostemon verticillatus, Eusteralis stellata

Water Shrub-Mint is an annual herb, 15-80 cm tall. Stems are solid, strong or slim, round with shallow grooves, erect or erect-rising up but base prostrate, trailing at base, many branches in tall plant. Leaves are in whorls of 4-8, stalkless; blade linear, 2-7 cm x 1.5-4 mm, hairless, base narrowed, margin remote minutely toothed or entire, curled or flat, tip pointed/ Flowers are borne in spikes at branch-ends, simple, 0.5-9 cm x 4-8 mm, continuous and compact; flowers nearly stalkless. Bracts are lanceshaped or ovate, about 1.5 mm long, bracteoles linear or thread-like, slightly shorter or almost as long as the sepal-cup. Sepal-cup is bell-shaped, 1-1.1 mm long in flower, enlarged to 1.6 mm long in fruit, 5-veined, densely gray woolly outside; teeth 5, triangular, equal, fringed with hairs. Flowers are purple-red, 1.5-1.8 mm, protruding, almost equally 4-lobed. Stamens are 4, protruding; filaments about 1.5 mm long, bearded portion slightly protruding from flower, style 1.8-2 mm long; stigma bifid. Water Shrub-Mint is also popular as an aquarium plant. Water Star is very common in rice paddies, wet areas along streams or pools, at elevations of 300-1500 m, in Tropical & Subtropical Asia to N. Australia, including Eastern Himalaya. Flowering: All year.

Identification credit: Manoranjan Paramanik Photographed in Purulia, West Bengal.

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