White-Spike Acanthus
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White-Spike Acanthus
P Native Photo: Niku Das
Common name: White-Spike Acanthus
Botanical name: Acanthus leucostachyus    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)

White-Spike Acanthus is a [erennial herb up to 1 m tall, erect, unbranched. Stem is brown, about 4 mm in diameter, hairy. Leaf-stalks are 0.8-2.5 cm; leaf blade elliptic, ovate-lanceshaped, inverted-lanceshaped, or lanceshaped, 9-23 x 2-4.5 cm, above hairless, secondary veins 5-8 on each side of midvein. Base is rounded to somewhat heart-shaped, margin slightly spiny-toothed but sometimes inprominently toothed or occasionally entire, tip pointed. Flowers are borne at branch-ends in spikes up to 16 cm, 4-ranked. Flowers are white, about 2.1 cm, hairy; petals round, about 5 × 5 mm, tip notched. Staminal filaments about 8 mm, hairless, upper pair curved (S-shaped). Sepal-cup about 2 cm, velvet-hairy; sepals unequal, margin fringed with hairs, anterior sepal about 1.7 × 0.4 cm, lateral sepal lanceshaped and about 15 × 2.5 mm, posterior sepal oblong-lanceshaped and about 2 × 0.5 cm. Ovary about 3 mm; style about 1.1 cm. Axis is grayish velvet-hairy; bracts ovate to obovate, 1-1.5 × 0.5-0.8 cm, below velvet-hairy, palmately veined, base rounded, margins at tip spiny, tip pointed to tapering; bracteoles lanceshaped to inverted-lanceshaped, 1.3-2 × 0.2-0.4 cm, below velvet-hairy, base rounded, margin entire and fringed with hairs, tip rounded with a short tip. Capsule is about 10 x 3 mm, hairless. Seeds kidney-shaped, about 2 × 2.5 mm, hairless. White-Spike Acanthus is found in dense forests, wet places, at altitudes of 600-1200 m in East India to China and Indo-China. Flowering: February-May.

Identification credit: Dipankar Borah Photographed in Dullung R.F., Lakhimpur, Assam.

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