Wingless Ainsliaea
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Wingless Ainsliaea
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Wingless Ainsliaea • Nepali: तितो बुटी Tito Butee
Botanical name: Ainsliaea aptera    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Liatris cordata

Wingless Ainsliaea is a small perennial herb which attracts attention by its dry-looking slender sprigs of frilly looking white flowers. These flower spikes make their appearance in early spring. The flowers are followed by broadly triangular or rounded heart-shaped leaves appearing from the root stock. The genus name Ainsliaea was named for Sir Whitelaw Ainslie, a 19th century doctor and author employed in India. The species name aptera means wingless, and refers to the fact that the leaves are wingless, in contrast to other similar species. In the rainy season, a leafy stem appears with many flowers which do not open, but end up producing seeds later. Flower heads are cylindrical, 1.3-2 cm long, with narrow lancelike bracts besides them. Leaves are stalked, 5-10 cm, and flowering stems are 1-3 ft long. Wingless Ainsliaea is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Bhutan, at altitudes of 1200-3600 m. Flowering: March-June.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Mussoorie & Ranikhet, Uttarakhand.

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