Phlogacanthus tubiflorus Nees, Pl. Asiat. Rar. 3: 99 1832. (Syn: Justicia tubiflora Buch.-Ham. ex Wall.);

Nees in Wall. Pl. As. Rar. iii. 99, and in DC. Prodr. xi. 321 ; leaves large elliptic or ovate narrowed at both ends softly pubescent beneath, panicles elongate dense somewhat pubescent, calyx-teeth 1/8 in., corolla 3/4 in. tubular curved scarcely widened upwards. T. Anders, in Journ. Linn. Soc. ix. 506, partly. Justicia tubiflora, Wall. Cat. 2428.

ASSAM PLAINS ; Hamilton, Jenkins, Masters : and adjacent KHASIA TERAI, alt. 2000 ft. ; Borpani, H. f. & T.
Leaves attaining 10 by 3-5.1/2 in., subentire or crenulate, densely punctulate above, almost woolly (but decidnously) pubescent beneath ; petiole 1-2 in., pubescent. Panicle 2-8 in., densely closely ramous, subthyrsoid ; pedicels often 1/4 in. ; bracts 1/8 in., linear. Calyx-tube 1/16 in. ; teeth linear-lanceolate, pubescent or glabrate. Corolla nearly as of P. Wallichii, yellow-red (Nees). Capsule 1.1/3 by 1/5 in., glabrous, 12-seeded. Seeds much compressed, glabrous.—Nearly allied to P. Wallichii, differing in the softly hairy under surface of the leaves and the much more open panicle.

(From The Flora of British India (1884) from IBIS FLORA)


identification of Phlogacanthus sps : 34 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (2)

please help in identifying this species of Phlogacanthus

can you please tell us a little basic info … where how tall shrub or tree? what season/month etc of this specimen

Its a shrub. Flowering season is from January to mid April. Some of the species of Phlogacanthus flowers in the month of December too. It grows to a height of about 8-12 feet. some even grows longer. It is very similar to P. thyrsiflorus except the flower colour.

I think this is ram basak… or Phlogacanthus Thyrsiflorus Nees., a medicinal herb in ayurvedic medicine, sometimes the inflorescence is bit taller… but he leaves here are what i have seen. also called lal basak.

Thank you very much… as i said that it is very much similar to P. thyrsiflorus but so far as i know it cannot be P. thyrsiflorus because here the flowers are completely yellow in colour but in P.thyrsiflorus or lal basak the flowers are completely red. I have seen lal basak here in Assam. I collected this from the same place from where i collected lal basak. I am totally confused.

I have botanist prof identified lal bask that is orangeish red
color of lower often depends on the micronurtient esp. metals in the soil
but the inflorescence size is not as tall and tapering in your picture as I said already…

and were you on an botanical survey expedition where you are allowed to gather herbarium specimen, did you save any herbarium specimen ?
and the lal bask that was completely red… do send us detailed pictures

for comparison and it would be important for efloraindia to document wild growing phloganthus in Assam … but do that in a sep. thread…

Thanks, …, PIcture size appears to small to see the details.
Pl. send at least 800 by 600 pixels size. Larger the better.

There was lot of confusion earlier in this regard on efloraofindia. Pl. see Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis

thank you for the links that you have given me. I will very soon upload the photographs of P. thyrsiflorus for comparison with the yellow one.

I read that a couple of other threads
color of flowers seem reddish orange
and in
this thread by … the flower spike could appear short depends on where one stands to take pic…
hence a herbarium sheet of several specimen and proper dissection etc. becomes absolutely necessary.
A graduate student would have greater professorial resources// taxonomic resources to study her live specimen than in  a few pictures .

Graduate work is hard work, but labor of love and no shortcuts

worth it.

I have seen the photographs of … and can confirmly assure you that those pics are of P. thyrsiflorus. I have collected P. thyrsiflorus also from Guwahati and some other parts of Assam.

I am sending here the photographs of P. thyrsiflorus. i collected this from the same place from where I collected the yellow species. so as you said that there can be difference in climatic and soil condition because of the metals present in the soil but how can there be such a vast difference in the colour of the flower? please have a look

Attachments (1)

several possibilities popped in my head:
1. its a different species as you say
2: its a cultivar/ that nobody knew about
3 needs investigation
much deeper investigation than just looking at photos..
take all the steps botanists  do to help taxonomists find the answer…
like some character in Satyajit Roy’s movie says” eta to bhab-bar bishoy!!!”

u are right…deeper investigations have to be done. this genus is really confusing. All the species seems very similar. Anyways please share with any information you get about Phlogacanthus. thank u very much for your wishes.

It is not clear to me if the inflorescence in the attached photographs are terminal or axillary or quasi-axillary on lateral branches.

The inflorescence that are shown in the photographs are terminal both for the yellow as well as the red one.

image of Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus
Attachments (1)

Thank you Madam, now I can see the red flowers.

Two different species of Phlogacanthus… a major difference is seen in their leaves.. both are shrubs but one with drooping leaves are very tall. in the other one the leaves are straight.

Please Identify

Attachments (2)

First, I have never seen any Phlogacanthus (physically), neither went through various posts (of this genus) submitted to our group. Yet I replied/asked a question because the thread was sent to me as cc/bcc.

However what I read (and understand) in the Flora of British India doesn’t reflect in the identified species pictures available in the net. For example, as per FBI or FoC the inflorescence of P. pubinervius is axillary but you get images in the net having all terminal inflo! There is a discussion, in our group, in this regard.
The issue gets more complicated when I see an article – Acadamic journals.

Please wait for experts’ view on the ID(s) of your species.

u are right…… P. pubinervius has axillary inflorescence. out of those two species I think the taller one is P. thyrsiflorus only but i have doubt regarding the shorter one.

Thank you Madam.

I also thank …, once again and at the same time put down my view. Of 10 species recorded in FBI we can skip at least four, either for their size (2 to 3 ft) or distribution or nature of inflorescence (axillary). Of the remaining 6 (as per FBI)-

1) P. guttatus Nees ; leaves often 9×3 inch; panicles 3-6×1 inch; corolla yellow
2) P. thyrsiflorus Nees (J. thyrsiflora Roxb.) : leaves lanceolar, drooping (FI); thyrse 4 to 12 in., shape of the flame of a candle (FI); corolla 1 inch, orange coloured
3) P. parviflorus T. Anders : Habit of P. wallichii, leaves 9×2.5 inch; panicle linear, nearly glabrous; corolla 1 in., blood-red
4) P. tubiflorus Nees : nearly allied to P. wallichii
5) P. wallichii Clarke : thyrse 2-4 inch, short peduncled; corolla densely villous, red…. resembling P. curviflorus, but with smaller thyrse and very much smaller corolla
6) P. curviflorus Nees : you can read description in FoC

Please see if the above helps, till experts take care.

I am extremely ashamed for my irresponsibility, I should have taken more care while copying FBI. The corrected entries should be (marked red, bold) :-
Of 10 species recorded in FBI we can skip at least four, either for their size (2 to 3 ft) or distribution or nature of inflorescence (axillary). Of the remaining 6 (as per FBI)-
1) P. guttatus Nees ; leaves often 9×3 inch, petiole 1.5 inch ; panicles 3-6×1 inch; corolla yellow
2) P. thyrsiflorus Nees (J. thyrsiflora Roxb.) : leaves lanceolar, drooping (FI); thyrse 4 to 12 in., shape of the flame of a candle (FI); corolla 2/3 rd inch (about 1 inch in FI), orange coloured
3) P. parviflorus T. Anders : Habit of P. wallichii, leaves 9×2.5 inch; panicle linear, nearly glabrous; corolla 1 in., blood-red (distrib. S.E. Assam (of British era)… and other regions)
4) P. tubiflorus Nees : corolla nearly as of P. wallichii, yellow-red (Nees), ….. nearly allied to P. wallichii, differing in the softly hairy under surface of the leaves and the much more open panicle
5) P. wallichii Clarke : thyrse 2-4 inch, short peduncled; corolla densely villous, red…. resembling P. curviflorus, but with smaller thyrse and very much smaller corolla
6) P. curviflorus Nees : you can read description in FoC

Thank you very much for all your efforts…..I will always be grateful to you…according to me…my species may either be P. tubiflorus or P. wallichii…. although P. parviflorus is similar to P. wallichii yet no records of P. parviflorus is found in Assam. 

Yes madam, P. parviflorus is endemic to Arunachal Pradesh FBI didn’t specify species distribution, instead it gave KHASIA Mts. May I please know out of your six images in that thread which one do you think to be P. tubiflorus or wallichii?

yes you are right… FBI didn’t specify species distribution… yet a few names like Khasi Mts, Sikkim and Bhutan are mentioned. I posted 2 photos together… one was tall and the other was short. again the longer one had drooping leaves whereas the drooping leaves are not seen in the shorter one… moreover the colour of the longer one was different than that of the shorter one… so i think the shorter one may be P. tubilforus or P. wallichii.

Yes, I guessed it, but what about the original post, the orange flower with greenish tinge (IMG_2119.jpg, IMG_2122.jpg)?

I don’t have any idea regarding that yellow species…it is so very similar to P. thyrsiflorus except the colour of the flower. so I am totally confused. can you guess anything about it?

Interestingly Madam, there is a photograph of Phlogacanthus pubinervius in the “Flowers of the Himalaya” (Polunin; pic1091, plate 99) which shows terminal inflo and drooping leaves. The site shows flowers somewhat similar to yours, and there is another, besides FoI.
But, if FoC is correct this is (yours) not P. pubinervius, one discrepancy is nature of inflorescence and the other is number of secondary nerves/veins.
There is one P. jenkinsii Clarke which according to FBI – “racemes 1 to 2.5 inch, ……. corolla nearly as of P. pubinervius …. apears to have been orange…… habit is more that of P. thyrsiflorus ….”
KEW has three herb, one Herbcat

So, your yellow/orange flower is really tricky

if you went to the winter flower show at hort (i somehow think you did) then you couldn’t have missed the red basak..  there were at least two large specimen with lots of flower spikes in the herb and vegetable area on the left and two or three in the annual flower section very near to the roses cordoned off area..  and several in their permanent herbal garden… may be you did not photograph it?  I may be wrong and you did not go to winter flower show…
regardless come this February , there will be one and lots of herbal specimen ..

I sent you the bcc  because i thought you might be interested in the plant that occurs in bengal and Hooghly…, if you were you could then come in, i know you are not looking at all emails /threads so  ….

and your insight is always welcome,

I thank you very much Didi for sending me this thread. Yes, I am very much interested to know, not only WB or NE India species but as much as I can all over our country. And also yes, I do not go through all thread submitted to our group.

In fact, I would have loved to try to ID this or these species too, but as you must have noticed that identification is not easy with so much contradiction and with so little references.

I have never been to any flower show anywhere but do wish to visit very much.

then do come to february 2015 flower show at the hort, you’ll enjoy it and get to take loads of picture come for the whole day  bring lunch and make a picnic out of it.

i’ll send you the dates

Thank you Didi, I would surely try to visit the show this time (feb/2015).

I stay in Guwahati but too desperately want to visit the flower show? please let me know the proper place? I will try to manage somehow if i can…and Phlogacanthus is really troubling me…I could not identify the species although I have gone through several literature.

I certainly would find out this week and let you know so you would have enough time to make arrangements.

I’ll also see if Dr DC pal would speak to you or the botanists at the hort. or someone at the Presidency college dept. of Botany
not promising anything, but I will try my best.
I do not know who is the expert  in this case
will need to do some leg work
does not your advisor know of contacts?

That’s really so sweet of you… at least you would take some efforts to help me… where will this horticulture program be held?… I mean in which place of Kolkata city? what advisor you are talking about? are you speaking about my guide?

yes … advisor for students are the guides…

horticulturre/ hort. for short /I ll send you dates immediately

I am sure he will be happy to help you …

since last nite i have worried about this… come to think of it…
wouldn’t your botany advisor take helping hand of a non-botanist with bad humor?   his or her ego get involved and take the anger out on you?

I wonder how come they are not helping you right now… do not send reply by writing
it may be used against you.
I’ll tell you the dates of the show and if those I think can help..
somehow I’ll contact you out of the public glare.. be well…
continue with your studies and become a best informed botanist…
keep showing your cases here with better detailed pictures, in that department … can help you, he could give you pointers in what to photograph in any given specimen.

write to him… his email address is

Please check and this should be Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis as corolla colour varies from orange to deep brown.

Phlogacanthus curviflorus (Wall.) Nees ??

I think it may be Phologacanthus tubiflorus as per Barnali ji’s publication at
Diversity and Ethnobotany of the Genus Phlogacanthus Nees in Assam



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