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Common Name : Firecracker Flower     -       Scientific Name : Crossandra infundibuliformis (Acanthaceae)       -       Other Name : Crossandra (E)
Nelum Wila

This is a species belonging to the Acanthaceae family and is indigenious to southern India and Sri Lanka. Crossandra is commonly cultivated as a garden plant and can be found in most home gardens. Once the flowers dry up the seed pods of this species  “explode” during high humidity or rain fall resulting in the dispersal of the seeds. This process of dispersal has earned this palnt its name.
In south india this plant is refered to a “Kanakambaram” and is one of the favourite flowers used by the ladies to decorate their hair.
This is a small shrub that grows to a maximum hight of about 3 feet but in localities where there is shade  the flower spikes may reach up to about  5 feet. Even though this species is known to produse flowers throughout the year, in Wilpattu I have seen the flowers particularly along the roads through tall forests from June to February.  During these months these flowers can be commonly seen along the road between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.