Alternanthera bettzickiana

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

  • Botanical Name : Alternanthera bettzickiana (Regel) G. Nicholson
  • Alternanthera is derived from the Latin alternis, alternately, and the Greek ανθος(anthos), a flower; bettzickiana was named for August Bettzick (1814-1865), a German gardener.

  • Synonyms : Alternanthera versicolor (Lem.) Regel, Alternanthera amabilis Lem., Telanthera bettzickiana Regel
  • Common Name : Lal Mehndi, Red Calico Plant, Joyweed
  • Plant Family : Amaranthaceae
  • Plant Form : Herb
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 28
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Indroda Park, Gujarat Forestry Research Foundation, Van Chetana Kendra, Aranya Van

About Alternanthera bettzickiana Plant :

  • Habit : Herb but occasionally reaches a height of 1 m.
  • Stem : Erect or creeping, much-branched, with the apical part of the stem quadrangular, and the basal part cylindrical, and hairy at the apex and nodes.
  • Leaves : Leaf blades green or red or various shades of purple, or sometimes tinged red or yellow, petioles up to 1-2 cm long but sometimes very short or absent. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf bladepilose and pustular. Twigs longitudinally ribbed, densely clothed in multicelled, minutely barbed, white hairs.The shape of the leaves varies from oblong to oblong-ovate or spatulate, and they are usually 1-6 cm long.
  • Flowers : Often on long stalks, in axillarysessile spikes or clusters.
  • Perianth : Segments about 3-5 mm long, clothed in pale hairs.
  • Androecium : Staminal filaments fused towards the base, anthers about 1-2 mm long, free filaments, staminodes alternating with the stamens. Staminodes about 2.5-3 mm long, apices toothed or lobed.
  • Gynoecium : Ovary about 1 mm long, enclosed in the staminal tube. Style short, about 0.5 mm long.
  • Fruits : Consisting of tightly packed bracts interspersed with pale hairs. Individual fruits slightly more than 1 mm long, enclosed in the persistent perianth segments and bracts.
  • Seeds : Seeds discoid, about 1 mm diam., testa brown. Embryo U-shaped,
  • Significance : It is commonly used as an ornamental edging plant.