Achyranthes indica (L.) Mill.
Perennial herb (sometimes woody and somewhat suffrutescent), occasionally flowering in the first year, 0.2-2 m, stiffly erect to subscandent or straggling and ±prostrate, simple to much-branched, stems stout to very weak, distinctly to obscurely 4-angled, striate or sulcate, subglabrous to densely tomentose, the nodes ±shrunken when dry. Leaves elliptic, oblong or oval and acute or acuminate to almost round and very obtuse, gradually or abruptly narrowed below, (2-) 3-12 (-16) x 1.3-6 cm, indumentum varying from uniformly subglabrous through subglabrous above and densely appressed-canescent below to ± densely tomentose on both surfaces; petioles of main stem leaves 3-25 mm, shortening above and below. Inflorescences at first dense, finally elongating to (5-) 8-34 (-40) cm; peduncles (0.6-)1-6(-7.5) cm. Bracts lanceolate or narrowly deltoid-lanceolate, pale or brownish-membranous, 1.75-5 (-6) mm, glabrous. Bracteoles 1.5-4.5 (-6) mm, the basal wings 1/3-1/4 (-1/2) the length of the spine and adnate to it, typically tapering off above but not rarely rounded or truncate. Perianth whitish or pale green to red or purple, segments 5, 3-7 (-10) mm, the outer longest, narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, very acute, with a distinct midrib and 2 obscure to distinct lateral nerves, narrowly or moderately pale-margined. Stamens 5, the filaments 1.5-4.5 (-6) mm, alternating with subquadrate pseudo-staminodes. Typically the apex of the latter curves slightly inwards as a narrow, crenate or entire, often very delicate flap, while from the dorsal surface arises a fimbriate-ciliate scale extending across the width of the pseudo-staminode; not rarely, however, this is reduced to a “stag’s-horn” process at the centre of the dorsal surface, or even becomes small and filiform-or else subapical or apical so that the pseudo-staminode appears simple (this mostly in small forms of var. sicula, which has not yet been found in Pakistan). Style slender, 1-4 (-6) mm. Capsule 1-3 (-5) mm. Seed filling the capsule, cylindrical, smooth.
Type: Ceylon, Hermann Herbarium Vol. 2, p. 69, right hand specimen (BM, lectotype!).
A protean species, of which innumerable varieties, forms or segregate species according to opinion have been created. Three entities are recognisable in Pakistan, of which selected specimens are cited here