The Amazon lily, the black-eyed Susan, the Brazilian button flower and the English daisy have something in common: They all grow in India, although they are originally natives of South America, South Africa and Europe respectively. A vast number of expatriate as well as indigenous flowering plants thrive in India, many with unusual histories and features that make them especially interesting to botanists and gardeners.
Magenta And Forest Ghost Flowers
The magenta ghost flower (Christisonia tubulosa) is a rare plant, native to southern India. This parasitic specimen existed in the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary near Pollachi for about 90 years before its rediscovery in 2003. The tubular flowers are a magenta color, and tend to grow at relatively high altitudes of more than 2,900 feet.
The discovery of the magenta ghost flower by the Scottish botanist, Robert Wight (1796 to 1872) dates back to 1835. Wight spent many years in India and was director of the botanic garden in Madras. The name of the genus derives from the distinguished Scottish toxicologist and physician, Sir Robert Christison, professor of medicine at Edinburgh University and physician to Britain's Queen Victoria.
The magenta ghost flower is a member of the Orobanchaceae family. Its more common relation is the forest ghost flower (Aeginetia indica), which is a member of the same family. The forest ghost flower is reddish purple or white and grows in the form of a tube and without leaves. These flowers inhabit forest floors, as their name indicates.
The toothbrush orchid (Habenaria heyneana) is a herb and a member of the Orchidaceae family. The blooms appear all on one side of the plant stalk, usually between two and eight greenish white flowers that turn yellow. The alternate leaves are long and pointed. These flowers bloom between August and September.
Indian Sesame Oil Plant
The Indian sesame oil plant (Sesamum laciniatum) is a herb and a member of the Pedaliaceae or Sesame family. The striking purple flowers are tubular with elliptic leaves. Flowering between September and December, the Indian sesame oil plant is indigenous to peninsular India.
Lal chitrak (Plumbago indica) is also commonly called plumbago and scarlet leadwort and is a member of the Plumbaginaceae family. It is a popular Indian herbaceous garden plant whose attractive red flowers, framed with ovate leaves, continue to bloom from winter through spring.
The root of this plant has medicinal uses in the treatment of rheumatism and paralytic problems, among other ailments.