Wightia Tree
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Wightia Tree
E Native Photo: N Arun Kumar
Common name: Wightia Tree
Botanical name: Wightia speciosissima    Family: Paulowniaceae (Empress Tree family)
Synonyms: Gmelina speciosissima, Wightia alpinii, Wightia elliptica, Wightia gigantea

Wightia Tree is a tree or semiepiphytic pseudovine, up to 15 m tall. Bark is grayish white. Branches are somewhat drooping, brown, warty, star-shaped hairy when young. Leaf-stalks are round, about 2 cm, above grooved; leaf blade often oblong to elliptic, up to 30 x 15 cm, below sparsely gray-yellow star-shaped hairy, above hairless, base wedge-shaped to rounded, tip pointed. Flowers are borne in thyrses more than 30 cm long, narrow, sparsely rusty star-shaped hairy; cymes often 3-flowered; flower-cluster-stalks up to 1 cm. Flower-stalks are short. Calyx is up to 8 mm, outside hairy; sepals round to broadly ovate. Flowers are reddish, up to 3.5 cm; tube compressed, distally gradually enlarged, outside hairy. Stamens are 4, filaments hairless. Capsules are oblong-ovoid to narrowly ellipsoid, about 4 cm, seeds narrowly winged. Wightia Tree is found in the Himalayas, from Nepal to Bhutan, Assam, N. Burma, Indo-China, W. China, at altitudes of 1200-2600 m. Flowering: September-October.

Identification credit: N Arun Kumar Photographed in Yuksom, West Sikkim.

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