Willow-Leaf Vernonia
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Willow-Leaf Vernonia
P Native Photo: Saroj Kasaju
Common name: Willow-Leaf Vernonia
Botanical name: Acilepis saligna    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Vernonia saligna, Vernonia seguinii, Conyza saligna

Willow-Leaf Vernonia is a hard perennial herb, 0.5-1 m tall. Flowers are borne in flat-topped leafy panicles, at branch-ends or in leaf-axils. Flower-heads are usually 6-8, 5-8 mm in diameter; flower-cluster-stalks 5-8 mm, densely finely velvet-hairy and glandular. Involucre is narrowly bell-shaped, 5-7 x about 6 mm; phyllaries 4- or 5-seriate, reddish purple in upper part, ovate or oblong, 1.5-6 mm, rough. Florets are 16-20; flower reddish pink to pale violet, occasionally white, tubular, 6-7 mm, with slender tube and narrowly bell-shaped limb; lobes lanceshaped, glandular. Stems are erect, woody at base, to 8 mm in diameter, round, striped, sparsely adpressed-finely velvet-hairy or nearly hairless, glandular. Leaf-stalk are short to almost absent; leaf blade elliptic-oblong or inverted-lanceshaped, 5-18 × 1-5 cm, papery, both surfaces rough-finely velvet-hairy and glandular, lateral veins 7-8-paired, veins below prominent, netveined veins sometimes very prominent, base narrowly wedge-shaped, margin remotely sawtoothed, tip tapering or pointed. Seedpods are cylindric, about 2 mm, 10-ribbed, hairless, glandular. Pappus 1-seriate, setae whitish, about 7 mm, rough-barbellate. Willow-Leaf Vernonia is found in thickets or open forests on slopes, in E. Himalaya (Nepal to Bhutan) eastwards to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand & SW China, at altitudes of 500-1600 m. Flowering: September-February.

Identification credit: Saroj Kasaju Photographed in Kalimpong, West Bengal.

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