Kerala Lepidagathis
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Kerala Lepidagathis
P Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Kerala Lepidagathis • Malayalam: Nonganampullu, Paramullu, Venappacha
Botanical name: Lepidagathis keralensis    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)

Kerala Lepidagathis is a perennial, prostrate, much branched herbs with woody rootstock; stem hairless, four-edged, more or less winged. Leaves are simple, opposite, 1 cm x 3 mm, narrowly oblong-lanceshaped, pointed or blunt-tapering at tip, dark green with purple margins, rigid, plicate, hairless, prominently nerved. Flowers are borne in spikes 1-3, at branch-ends, prostrate, 2 cm long. Flowers are 1 cm long, densely hairy in bud, tube cylindric below, suddenly expanded, 2- lipped, upper lip 2-lobed, erect or reflexed, pink, lower lip 3-lobed, pink with white to yellow palate. Stamens are 4, didynamous, up to 6 mm long, sparsely hairy, purple to deep violet in color. Flowers are stalkless, about 1 cm long; sterile bracts are 5-8, more or less uniform, up to 10 x 4 mm, oblong- lanceshaped, densely velvet-hairy, each with a stiff, sharply pointed with a spine, persistent. Sepal-cup is hairy, deeply 5-lobed, lobes unequal, persistent, similar to bracts. Fruit is a compressed capsule, 6 mm long, hairless; seeds 2, flat, softly hairy with white aril. Kerala Lepidagathis is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: December-April.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Bantwal taluk, Karnataka.

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