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ntroduced Photo: Chandresh Dhulia

Common name: Kasturi Kamal • Hindi: कतर

ू कमल Kasturi
Kamal • Nepali: कपासे फल
ू Kapase phool
Botanical name: Saussurea
gossypiphora Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Kasturi kamal plant looks like a wooly snow-ball. It is a

densely white- or grey-wooly more or less globular high
altitude plant. Stem 10-20 sm, stout, hollow, enlarged club-
shaped and densely leafy above, base covered with black
shining leaf bases. Leaves linear, coarsely toothed or lobed,
embedded in dense wooly hairs. Flower-heads purple,
cylindrical 1.3-2 cm long, deeply embedded in woolly hairs and
densely clustered at the top of the stem. Kasturi kamal is
native to the Himalayas, and found at altitudes of 4300-5600
Medicinal uses: The wool of this herb is applied to cuts,
where it sticks compactly, seals the wound.
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ative Photo: Shaista Ahmad

Common name: Coffee Senna, coffeeweed, Negro coffee

• Hindi: Kasunda, Bari kasondi • Marathi: ran-takda, kasivda,
kasoda, rankasvinda • Tamil: Nattam takarai, Payaverai
• Malayalam: Mattantakara • Telugu: Thangedu • Kannada:
Kolthogache •Bengali: Kalkashunda • Oriya: Kasundri • Urdu:
Kasonji • Assamese: Hant-thenga •Gujarati: Kasundri
• Sanskrit: Kasamarda, Vimarda, Arimarda
Botanical name: Cassia
occidentalis Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Senna occidentalis

Coffee Senna is a smooth annual that can grow up to 2 m tall.

The leaves are compound, leaflets, in 4-6 pairs, have a sharp
tip. These leaflets are 2-9 cm long and 2-3 cm wide with a
distinct gland 3-5 mm from the base of the stalk. Flowers
occur in leaf axils. Sepals are green and 6-9 mm long. The
petals are yellow and 1-2 cm long. The 6-7 stamens are of two
different lengths. The seed pods are dark brown, 8 to 12 cm
long, 7-10 mm wide and curve slightly upward. The seeds are
dull brown, 4-5 mm long and flattened on both ends. The
seeds can be roasted and made into a coffee-like drink.
Medicinal uses: The seed is bitter and has purgative
properties. It is also used as a diuretic, liver detoxifier, as a
hepato-tonic (balances and strengthens the liver). Further,
used in whooping cough and convulsion.
Identification credit: Sankara Rao
Photographed in Bangalore & Delhi.
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ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh

Common name: London Rocket • Hindi: khubkaln, asalio,

khubkhala • Sanskrit: khakasi, khubakala • Urdu: khubakalan
Botanical name: Sisymbrium
irio Family: Brassicaceae (Cauliflower family)

London Rocket is an annual herb more than 3 ft tall, with

open, slender stem branches. The flowers are small with four
pale yellow petals. The basal leaves are broad and often lobed,
while the upper leaves are linear in shape and up to four
inches long. The fruit is a long narrow cylindrical silique, which
stays green when ripe. When dried the fruit has small red
oblong seeds.
Medicinal uses: London Rocket is used in the Middle East to
treat coughs and chest congestion, to relieve rheumatism, to
detoxify the liver and spleen, and to reduce swelling and clean
Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Delhi.
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Common name: Henbane, Stinking nightshade • Hindi:
Khurasani ajwain • Sanskrit: Parseek yawani • Nepali: खुसानी
वाँनु Khursani jwanu
Botanical name: Hyoscyamus
niger Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)

Henbane is a robust, leafy plant, growing to 1 m tall. The plant

is coarsely hairy, sticky and stinks. Basal leaves are elliptic,
irregularly lobed, stalked. Stem leaves are stalkless. Flowers
are cup-shaped, 2-3 cm across, dull yellow, prominently netted
with purple veins, and have a dark purple center. Sepal cup is
funnel shaped with triangular pointed sepals. Sepals enlarge
and become papery in fruit, and encircle the capsule. Henbane
is found in the Himalayas at altitudes of 2100-3300 m.
Flowering: May-September.
Medicinal uses: Henbane is used in Homoepathic medicine.
credit: Navend Photographed in Valley of Flowers & Nanda Devi Reserve, Uttarakhand.
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Common name: Kariyat, Creat • Hindi: Kirayat, Kalpanath
• Manipuri:  Vubati •Marathi: Oli-kiryata, Kalpa • Tamil:
நலெவம்பு Nilavembu • Malayalam: Nelavepu, Kiriyattu
• Telugu: Nilavembu • Kannada: Nelaberu • Bengali: 

Kalmegh • Oriya: Bhuinimba • Konkani: Vhadlem Kiratyem

• Urdu: Naine-havandi • Assamese: 
Kalmegh • Gujarati:
Kariyatu • Sanskrit: Kalmegha, Bhunimba • Mizo: Hnakhapui
Botanical name: Andrographis
paniculata Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)
Synonyms: Justicia paniculata

Kariyat is an erect annual herb extremely bitter in taste in all

parts of the plant. It grows erect to a height of 1-4 ft in moist
shady places with smooth leaves and white flowers with rose-
purple spots on the petals. Stem dark green, 0.3 - 1.0 m in
height, 2-6 mm in diameter, quadrangular with longitudinal
furrows and wings on the angles of the younger parts, slightly
enlarged at the nodes; leaves glabrous, up to 8.0 cm long and
2.5 cm broad, lanceolate, pinnate; flowers small, in lax
spreading axillary and terminal racemes or panicles; capsules
linear-oblong, acute at both ends, 1.9 cm x 0.3 cm; seeds
numerous, sub quadrate, yellowish brown.
Medicinal uses: Since ancient times, Kariyat is used as a
wonder drug in traditional Siddha and Ayurvedic systems of
medicine as well as in tribal medicine in India and some other
countries for multiple clinical applications. The therapeutic
value of Kalmegh is due to its mechanism of action which is
perhaps by enzyme induction. The plant extract exhibits
antityphoid and antifungal activities.
Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed in Imphal & Nagpur.
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ative Photo: Prashants Awale

Common name: Yellow Nicker, Gray nicker, nicker seed,

bonduc nut, Fever nut, nicker bean • Hindi: कांटकरं ज Kantkarej,
कांटकरं ज Kantikaranja, कबे
ु रा
ी Kuberakshi • Marathi: सागरलता
Sagarlata • Tamil: Kalichchikkai • Malayalam: Kalanchi
• Telugu: Gachchakaya • Kannada: Gajikekayi • Sanskrit:
लताकरं जः Latakaranjah, कबेु रा
ी Kuberakshi, कंटककरं जः
Botanical name: Caesalpinia
bonduc Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Caesalpinia crista, Caesalpinia bonducella,
Guilandina bonduc

Yellow Nicker is a large, thorny, straggling, shrub which

behaves like a strong woody climber, taking support of trees.
The branches are armed with hooks and straight hard yellow
prickles. Leaves are large, double compound, with 7 pairs of
pinnae, and each with 3-8 pairs of leaflets with 1-2 small
recurved prickles between them on the underside. Flowers are
yellow, in dense long-stalked racemes at the top. Fruits are
inflated pods, covered with wiry prickles. Seeds are 1-2 per
pod, oblong or globular, hard, grey with a smooth shiny
surface. The hard and shiny seeds are green, turning
grey.They are used for jewellery.
Medicinal uses: Fruits are tonic and antipyretic. Seeds yield a
fatty oil used as a cosmetic and for discharges from the ear.
Leaves and bark are febrifuge.
credit: Prashant Awale Photographed at Dighave village, near Dhule, Maharashtra.
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Common name: Bandicoot Berry • Hindi: ककर ु ु िजवा Kukur
jihwa • Manipuri: Koknal •Marathi: Karkani • Tamil: Nalava,
Ottannalam • Malayalam: Nakku • Telugu: Amkador
•Kannada: Gadhapatri • Bengali: Kurkur • Assamese: Ahina
• Sanskrit: Chatri
Botanical name: Leea indica Family: Leeaceae (Leea

Bandicoot Berry is a shrub with straight branches. The leaves

are double compound or triple compound, 90-120 cm long.
The leaflets are extremely variable in size and shape. The
flowers are greenish-white. The fruit is small. It is found in
India to Indo-China, the Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, and
Medicinal uses: A decoction of the root is given in colic, is
cooling and relieves thirst. In Goa, the root is much used in
diarrheal and chronic dysentery. The roasted leaves are
applied to the head in vertigo.
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Common name: Opium Poppy, Afim अफ़म (Hindi)
Botanical name: Papaver
somniferum Family: Papaveraceae (poppy family)

Poppy is an annual herb native to Southeastern Europe and

western Asia. Also known as opium poppy, the species is
cultivated extensively in many countries, including Iran,
Turkey, Holland, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia,
India, Canada, and many Asian and Central and South
American countries. Reaching a height of 1.2 meters, the erect
plant can have white, pink, red, or purple flowers. Seeds range
in color from white to a slate shade that is called blue in
commercial classifications. A latex containing several important
alkaloids is obtained from immature seed capsules one to
three weeks after flowering. Incisions are made in the walls of
the green seed pods, and the milky exudation is collected and
dried. Opium and the isoquinoline alkaloids morphine, codeine,
noscapine, papaverine, and thebaine are isolated from the
dried material. The poppy seeds and fixed oil that can be
expressed from the seed are not narcotic, because they
develop after the capsule has lost the opium-yielding
Medicinal uses: Poppy is one of the most important medicinal
plants. Traditionally, the dry opium was considered an
astringent, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, diaphoretic,
expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic, and sedative. Poppy has been
used against toothaches and coughs. The ability of opium from
poppy to serve as an analgesic is well known. Opium and
derivatives of opium are used in the pharmaceutical industry
as narcotic analgesics, hypnotics, and sedatives. Opium and
the drugs derived from opium are addictive and can have
toxicological effects.
Photographed in Nainital
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Common name: Blistering Ammannia, Acrid weed, Monarch
redstem, Tooth cup •Hindi: अिन बट
ू Aginbuti, बन म रच Ban
mirich, दादमार Dadmari, जंगल महद
 Jungli mehendi • Marathi:
ु aginbuti, भरजांभळ
ू bharajambhula, दादमार dadmari
• Tamil: கல்லுருவி kal-l-uruvi • Malayalam: kallur vanchi,
nirumelneruppu • Kannada: ಾಡುಡ kaadugida • Bengali:
 banmarich • Konkani: दादमाया dadmaria • Sanskrit:
अिनगाभ agnigarbha, ामसोम brahmasoma, े"भषा

kshetrabhusha, े"व शनी kshetravashini, महा&याम mahasyama,
पाषाणभेद pasanabheda • Nepali: अ)बार ambar
Botanical name: Ammannia
baccifera Family: Lythraceae (Crape Myrtle family)
Synonyms: Ammannia vescicatoria, Ammannia aegyptiaca

Blistering Ammannia is an erect, branched, smooth, slender,

annual herb, found in open, damp, waste places. It is more or
less purplish herb 10-50 cm in height, with somewhat 4-angled
stems. The leaves are narrow-oblong, oblanceshaped, or
narrowly elliptic, about 3.5 cm long - those on the branches
very numerous, small, and 1-1.5 cm long – with narrowed
base and pointed or somewhat rounded tip. The flowers are
small, about 1.2 mm long, greenish or purplish, and borne in
dense clusters in leaf axils. The capsules are nearly spherical,
depressed, about 1.2 mm in diameter, purple. The seeds are
black. The common name comes from the fact that the leaves
are exceedingly acrid, irritant, and vesicant, and are being
used by the village-folk to raise blisters, being applied to the
skin for half an hour or a little longer.
Medicinal uses: The leaves or the ashes of the plant, mixed
with oil, are applied to cure herpetic eruptions. The fresh,
bruised leaves have been used in skin diseases as a
rubefacient and as an external remedy for ringworm and
parasitic skin affection.
Identification credit: Dinesh
Valke Photographed at Vaghbil, Thane, Maharashtra.
ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh

Common name: Ajwain • Bengali: я Jowan • Gujarati:

યવણો Yavano • Hindi: अजवाइन, अजवायन Ajwain • Kannada:
ajamoola, oma, omu, ajamoda • Marathi: ओवा Ova • Nepali:
जवानो Javano • Sanskrit: अजमोद Ajamoda, अजमो दका Ajamodika,
dipyaka, यवानी yavani, yamanika • Tamil: ஓமம் Omam
• Telugu: omaan, vamu • Urdu: अजवाइन Ajwain
Botanical name: Trachyspermum
ammi Family: Apiaceae (Carrot family)
Synonyms: Sison ammi, Trachyspermum copticum, Carum

Ajwain is an erect, hairless or minutely pubescent, branched

annual herb. The stems are grooved. the leaves are rather
distant, 2-3-pinnately divided in narrow linear segments.
Flowers are borne in terminal or seemingly-lateral stalked,
compound umbels, white and small. The fruits are ovoid,
aromatic, greyish brown. The mericarps, which are the
components of the fruit, are compressed, with distinct ridges
and tubercular surface, 1-seeded. This is what is used as the
spice Ajwain, in cooking.
Medicinal uses: Ajwain is also traditionally known as a
digestive aid, relieves abdominal discomfort due to indigestion
and antiseptic.
Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Toothache Plant, Para cress • Hindi: Akarkar,

Pipulka • Marathi: Pipulka, Akarkara • Kannada: Hemmugalu
• Assamese: Pirazha
Botanical name: Acmella
oleracea Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Spilanthes acmella, Spilanthes oleracea

Toothache Plant or "Paracress" is a flowering herb. Its leaves

and flower heads contain an analgesic agent that may be used
to numb toothaches. It is grown as an ornamental (and
occasionally as a medicinal) in various parts of the world. The
stems are prostrate or erect, often reddish, hairless. Leaves
are broadly ovate to triangular, 5–11 cm long, 4–8 cm wide,
margins toothed, tip sharp. Flower-heads arise singly,
elongated-conical, containing primarily disc florets, 1–2.4 cm
long, 1.1–1.7 cm in diameter. Disc florets are many, yellow to
orange, 2.7–3.3 mm long. Achenes are black, 2–2.5 mm long.
Eating Toothache Plant is a memorable experience. The leaf
has a smell similar to any green leafy vegetable. The taste,
however, is somewhat reminiscent of Echinacea, but lacking
the bitter and sometimes nauseating element of that
medicinal. First, a strong, spicy warmth spreads outward
across one's tongue, turning into a prickling sensation. With
this the salivary glands leap into action, pumping out
quantities of saliva. As the prickling spreads, it mellows into an
acidic (slightly metallic) sharpness accompanied by tingling,
and then numbness. The numbness fades after a time (two to
twenty minutes, depending on the person and amount eaten),
and the pungent aftertaste may linger for an hour or more.
Medicinal uses: The leaves and flower heads contain
analgesic, antifungal, anthelminthic, and antibacterial agents,
but some of the compounds are destroyed by desiccation or
credit: Akramul Photographed in Garden of Five Senses, Delhi & Maharashtra.
Hoque & Shaista Ahmad
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Common name: Flax, Common flax, Flaxseed, Linseed
• Hindi: अलसी Alsi • Tamil: அலி Ali • Telugu:  

Madanginja, Ullusulu • Bengali: a Atasi • Sanskrit: अतसी

Botanical name: Linum
usitatissimum Family: Linaceae (Linseed family)

Flax is a cool temperate annual herb with erect, slender stems,

80-120 cm tall. A cultivated plant in closely spaced field
conditions it has little branching except at the apex. Leaves are
alternate, lance-like and greyish-green with 3 veins. Flowers
have five, pale blue petals in a cluster. The sepals are lance-
like and nearly as long as the pointed fruit. The fruit are
spherical capsules. The seeds are oval, somewhat flattened, 4-
6mm long and are pale to dark brown and shiny. Flax is native
to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to
India. It was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt. Flax is
grown both for its seed and for its fibres. Interestingly, the
species name usitatissimummeans, most useful. Various parts
of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper,
medicines, fishing nets and soap. It is also grown as an
ornamental plant in gardens, as flax is one of the few plant
species capable of producing truly blue flowers (most "blue"
flowers are really shades of purple), although not all flax
varieties produce blue flowers. In Durga Puja, five flowers are
offered to goddes Durga, red China Rose, Red Oleander, Lotus,
Aparajita and Atasi (Flax).
Medicinal uses: In Ayurveda, Flax is used internally in
habitual constipation, functional disorders of the colon
resulting from the misuse of laxatives and irritable colon, as a
demulcent preparation in gastritis and enteritis. Externally, the
powdered seeds or the press-cake are used as an emollient, in
poultices for boils, carbuncles and other skin afflictions. Used
in Soothing Body Lotion for dry skin.
<<< Back Photo: Dinesh Valke

ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Bush Grape, fox-grape, three-leaved wild

vine, threeleaf cayratia •Hindi: अमलबेल amalbel, gidardrak,
ramchana, tamanya • Marathi: अंबटवेल ambatvel, अंबोशी
amboshi, sarbarival • Tamil: காட்டுப்பிரண்ைட kattuppirantai
• Malayalam: amarcakkoti, corivalli, kattuperanta, tsjori-valli,
vatakkoti • Telugu: к kanupu tige, 
puli mada
• Kannada: ೆೊ heggoli • Bengali: a  Amal-lata
• Assamese:    Chepeta-lota • Sanskrit: अ लवेतस
amlavetasah, अय लपण atyamlaparni, gandirah
Botanical name: Cayratia trifolia Family: Vitaceae (Grape
Synonyms: Cissus trifolia, Vitis trifolia, Vitis carnosa

Native to India, Bush Grape is a vine that climbs by means of

tendrils which are found opposite the leaves. The leaves are
trifoliolate with petioles 2-3 cm long. The leaflets are ovate to
oblong-ovate, 2-8 cm long, 1.5-5 cm wide, pointed at the tip,
and coarsely toothed at the margins. The flowers are small
greenish white and borne on solitary cymes in leaf axils. The
fruit is fleshy, juicy, dark purple or black, nearly spherical and
about 1 cm in diameter. Flowering: December.
Medicinal uses: The root, ground with black pepper, is
applied to boils. The root is also used as an astringent
Identification credit: Dinesh
Valke Photographed at Vaghbil, Thane, Maharashtra.
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ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Amaltas, Golden shower tree, Indian

Laburnum • Hindi: अमलतास Amaltas • Manipuri:  Chahui
• Tamil: ெகான்ைற Konrai • Malayalam: Vishu konnai
• Marathi: बहावा Bahava • Mizo: Ngaingaw • Bengali: 
Sonali, Bandarlati, Amultas •Urdu: ‫ املتــــاس‬Amaltas
Botanical name: Cassia fistula
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

This native of India, commonly known as Amaltaas,

is one of the most beautiful of all tropical trees
when it sheds its leaves and bursts into a mass of
long, grape-bunches like yellow gold flowers. A
tropical ornamental tree with a trunck consisting of
hard reddish wood, growing up to 40 feet tall. The
wood is hard and heavy; it is used for cabinet, inlay
work, etc. It has showy racemes, up to 2" long, with bright,
yellow, fragrant flowers. These flowers are attractive to bees
and butterflies. The fruits are dark-brown cylindrical pods, also
2' long, which also hold the flattish, brown seeds (up to 100 in
one pod) These seeds are in cells, each containing a single
seed. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal
Department to commemorate this tree.
Medicinal uses: The sweet blackish pulp of the seedpod is
used as a mild laxative.
Photographed in Delhi.
<<< Back Photo: Thingnam Girija

ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Air Plant, Donkey Ears, Life Plant, Leaf of

Life, Resurrection Plant, Canterbury Bells, Cathedral Bells,
Mexican Love Plant, Floppers • Hindi: Amar poi अमर पोई
• Malayalam: Elamarunna • Tamil: Runakkalli • Bengali: Kop
pata • Urdu: Zakhmhaiyat ज़महयात • Manipuri: , 
Botanical name: Kalanchoe
pinnata Family: Crassulaceae (sedum family)
Synonyms: Cotyledon pinnata, Bryophyllum pinnatum

Native Hawaiian plant. Easy to grow just from one leaf set on
top of moist soil. Very fast growing, drought tolerant small
shrub. Tolerates almost any conditions. Spectacular bloomer.
Air Plant grows to about 3-6 feet tall. The erect, thick,
succulent stems bear large, fleshy leaves, each with 3 or 5
oval leaflets with round-toothed edges. Young plantlets
develop along the margins of the mature leaves. The
attractive, drooping blooms are borne on large panicles. The
flowers have purple or yellowish-white tinged calyxes and
reddish corollas. Kalanchoe is a genus of about 125 species of
tropical, succulent flowering plants in the Family Crassulaceae,
mainly native to the Old World but with a few species in the
New World. These plants are cultivated as ornamental
houseplants and rock or "cactus" garden plants. They are
popular because of their ease of propagation, low water
requirements, and wide variety of flower colors typically borne
in clusters well above the vegetative growth. The "Air plant"
Kalanchoe pinnata is a curiosity because new individuals
develop vegetatively at indents along the leaf, usually after the
leaf has broken off the plant and is laying on the ground,
where the new plant can take root.
Medicinal uses: Bahamians call it Life Leaf or Ploppers. In the
Bahamas it is mostly used for Asthma or
shortness in breath. Photographed in New Delhi
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ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Indian Sarsaparilla • Hindi: अनंतमल

Anantamul, दधल

ू Dudhli •Manipuri: a Anantamul

• Marathi: अनंतवेल Anant vel • Tamil: Nannari, Sugandipala
• Malayalam: Narunenti • Telugu: Suganda pala • Kannada:
Sugankha-palada-gidda, Sogade • Oriya: onotomulo
• Gujarati: Sariva, Upalasari • Sanskrit: अनंतमल
ू Anantamul,
Botanical name: Hemidesmus
indicus Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)

Indian Sarsaparilla is a vine, which trails on the ground and

climbs by means of tendrils growing in pairs from the petioles
of the alternate, orbicular to ovate, evergreen leaves. The vine
emerges from a long, tuberous rootstock, and can reach up to
1-3 m. The hindi name Anantamool literally means, endless
root. The small, greenish flowers grow in auxiliary umbels. The
flower cymes are stalkless. Flowers have 5 petals, greenish on
the outside and purple to yellowish orange on the inside. The
flower petals are fleshy, typical of the Milkweed family to which
it belongs. Now the Milkweed family has been incorporated in
the Oleander family. Flowering: October-January.
Medicinal uses: It is one of the Rasayana plants of Ayurveda,
as it is anabolic in its effect. It is used for venereal diseases,
herpes, skin diseases, arthritis, rheumatism, gout, epilepsy,
insanity, chronic nervous diseases, abdominal distention,
intestinal gas, debility, impotence and turbid urine.
Identification credit: Prashant
Awale Photographed at Korigad, Maharashtra.
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Common name: Belladonna, Devil's Cherries, Naughty Man's
Cherries, Divale, Black Cherry, Devil's Herb, Great Morel,
Dwayberry • Hindi: अंगूर शेफ़ा Angur Shefa, luckmuna,
Luckmunee, साग अंगूर Sag-angur • Tamil: Bellatona,
Pelletonacceti • Kashmiri: Sagangur • Bengali: Yebruj • Urdu:
Bikh luffah, Poast bikh luffah • Sanskrit: Suchi
Botanical name: Atropa
belladonna Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Atropa bella-donna

Belladonna is a perennial branching herb growing to 5 feet tall.

The leaves are dull, darkish green in colour and of unequal
size, 3-10 inches long, the lower leaves solitary, the upper
ones in pairs alternately from opposite sides of the stem, one
leaf of each pair much larger than the other, oval in shape,
acute at the apex, entire and attenuated into short petioles.
First-year plants grow only about 1 1/2 feet in height. Their
leaves are often larger than in full-grown plants and grow on
the stem immediately above the ground. Older plants attain a
height of 3-5 ft, occasionally even 6 ft. The flowers, borne in
leaf axils, are of a dark and dingy purplish colour, tinged with
green, about 2.5 cm long, pendent, bell-shaped, furrowed. The
flowers have five large teeth or lobes, slightly reflexed. The
fruit is 0.5 inch smooth berry, which ripens to acquire a
shining black or purple color. Every part of the plant is
extremely poisonous, and can result in poisoning of not
handled carefully.
Medicinal uses: The plant is believed to be narcotic, diuretic,
sedative, antispasmodic, mydriatic. Belladonna is a most
valuable plant in the treatment of eye diseases, Atropine,
obtained during extraction, being its most important
constituent on account of its power of dilating the pupil.
Identification credit: Ramesh Raju
Photographed in Andhra Pradesh.
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Common name: Delek air tree, Ironwood tree • Hindi: Anjan
अंजन, Kaya • Marathi: Anjan • Telugu: Mandi, Lakhonde
• Malayalam: Kanjavu • Oriya: Neymaru
Botanical name: Memecylon
umbellatum Family: Melastomataceae (Melastome family)
Synonyms: Memecylon edule

A large shrub or small tree, up to 8-14m tall with amazing

bright blue flowers that look almost unreal. Delek air produces
showy clusters of tiny purple flowers, about 1cm each. The
trees bloom once or twice a year, and are then indeed a
beautiful sight. As the flower petals are shed, the sand and
rocks below are dusted in mauve. The fruits are small (about
1cm) and are green, turning red then black as they ripen. The
tree has a thin bark, so it is sometimes also called 'Nipis kulit'
or 'thin-skinned' in Malay. Delek air belongs to the same family
as the more familiar Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma
malabathricum) This tree is not only beautiful, but also useful.
It provides hard timber used for building houses and boats. A
yellow dye can be extracted from the leaves and the bark is
used to treat bruises.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are used in the treatment of
gonorrhea, or when mixed with several other ingredients, they
make good fomentations for external use.
Identification credit: Yogish Holla
Photographed in Goa & Maharashtra.
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Sage Leaved Alangium • Hindi: Ankol अंकोल

• Urdu: Ankula •Malayalam: Arinjl • Telugu: Urgu • Kannada:
Ankolamara • Sanskrit: Ankolah • Tamil: Alandi
Botanical name: Alangium
salviifolium Family: Alangiaceae (Alangium family)

Sage Leaved Alangium is a tall thorny tree native to India. It

grows to a height of about 3 to 10 meters.The bark is ash
colored, rough and faintly fissured. The leaves are elliptic
oblong, elliptic lanceolate or oblong lanceolate. The flowers are
greenish white, fascilcled, axillary or on old wood. The berries
are ovoid, ellipsoid or nearly globose.glabrous, smooth and
violet to purple. The flowering season is February to June.
Medicinal uses: In Ayurveda the roots and the fruits are used
for treatment of rheumatism, and hemorrhoid.Externally it is
used for the treatment of bites of rabbits,
rats, and dogs. Photographed in Maharashtra.
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Two-toothed Chaff Flower, Ox knee, Pig's

knee • Tamil: Sigappu Nayurivi • Sanskrit: Apamarga • Nepali:
दतवन Datiun, रातो अपमाग Rato apamarga
Botanical name: Achyranthes
bidentata Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)

Two-toothed Chaff Flower is an erect, perennial herb, 0.7-1.2

m tall, distributed in hilly districts of India, Java, China and
Japan. Stem green or tinged purple, with opposite branches.
Leaf stalk 0.5-3 cm, hairy; leaf blade elliptic or elliptic-
lanceolate, rarely oblanceolate, 4.5-12 × 2-7.5 cm. Flower
spikes terminal or axillary, 3-5 cm; rachis 1-2 cm, white hairy.
Flowers dense, 5 mm. Tepals shiny, lanceolate, 3-5 mm, with
a midvein, apex acute. Stamens 2-2.5 mm; pseudostaminodes
slightly serrulate, apex rounded. Utricles yellowish brown,
shiny, oblong, 2-2.5 mm, smooth. Seeds light brown, oblong,
1 mm. Seed are cooked and eaten. A good substitute for
cereal grains in bread-making, they have often been used for
this purpose during famine. Flowering: July-September. Leaves
are used as a vegetable in the same manner as spinach.
Medicinal uses: Traditional Chinese herb used to nourish the
kidney and liver, drain 'dampness' and promote circulation.
Prescribed for difficult urination, painful urethritis, suppressed
menstruation. Commonly used to treat traumatic injuries,
stiffness and pain of the lower back and loins and for weakness
in the legs and feet. Do not use
during pregnancy. Photographed in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Identification credit: Akramul Hoque
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Common name: Pale Java Tea • Sanskrit: Arjaka, Shveta-
Botanical name: Orthosiphon
pallidus Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Pale Java Tea is a perennial herb with a woody rootstock, not

aromatic. Stems are diffusely branched, ascending-erect, 10-
35 cm, slender, quadrangular, velvety or almost hairless.
Leaves are ovate, 1-3.5 x 1-2 cm, pale green, slightly fleshy,
nearly entire to saw-toothed, gland- dotted, stalked, velvety to
almost hairless. Inflorescence is usually unbranched, short.
Verticillasters 5-7, 6-flowered, distant. Bracts are 0.5-1 mm,
ovate-oblong. Flower stalks are 2 mm spreading in flower,
deflexed in fruit. Sepal cup is 2-2.5 mm in flower, and up to 6
mm in fruit, velvety in lower part, upper lobe ovate-circular;
lower pair of teeth subulateattenuate, 2 mm in fruit. Flowers
are white or lilac, 5-6 mm; tube as long as calyx teeth.
Stamens included. Nutlets are pale brown, orbicular-ovoid, 1 x
1 mm.
Identification credit: Prashant Awale
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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Arjun • Hindi: अजन

ु Arjun • Manipuri:
 Maiyokpha • Tamil: மருது Marutu • Malayalam:
Nirmarutu • Kannada: Nirmatti
Botanical name: Terminalia arjuna
Family: Combretaceae (rangoon creeper family)

In Indian mythology, Arjun is supposed to be Sita's favourite

tree. Native to India, the tree attracts lot of attention because
of its association with mythology and its many uses. Arjuna is
a large, evergreen tree, with a spreading crown and drooping
branches. Grows up to 25 m height, and the bark is grey and
smooth. Leaves are sub-opposite, 5-14 × 2-4.5 cm in size,
oblong or elliptic oblong. Flowers small, white, and occur on
long hanging recemes. Fruit is 2.3-3.5 cm long, fibrous woody,
glabrous and has five hard wings, striated with numerous
curved veins. Flowering time of the tree is April-July, in Indian
Medicinal uses: Every part of the tree has useful medicinal
properties. Arjun holds a reputed position in both Ayurvedic
and Yunani Systems of medicine. According to Ayurveda it is
alexiteric, styptic, tonic, anthelmintic, and useful in fractures,
uclers, heart diseases, biliousness, urinary discharges, asthma,
tumours, leucoderma, anaemia, excessive prespiration etc.
According to Yunani system of medicine, it is used both
externally and internally in gleet
and urinary discharges. Photographed in Lodhi gardens, New Delhi
Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh
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ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Indian Ipecac, Indian ipecacuahna • Hindi:

अंतमलू Antamul, Jangli pikvam • Marathi: Khadari, Pitthakaadi,
Pitthamaari, Pitvel • Tamil: Naippalai, Nancaruppan
• Malayalam: Nansjera-patsja, Vallippala • Telugu: Kakapala,
Tellayadala, Verripala • Kannada: Antamula, Nipaladaberu,
Aadumuttada gida • Bengali: a Antamul • Oriya: Mendi,
Mulini • Assamese: a Antamul • Sanskrit: Arkaparni,
Lataksiri, Shwasaghni
Botanical name: Tylophora
indica Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)
Synonyms: Asclepias asthmatica, Tylophora asthmatica,
Cynanchum indicum

Indian Ipecac is a small, slender, much branched, velvety,

twining or climbing herb with yellowish sap. It is mostly found
in the sub-himalayan tract from Uttarakhand to Meghalaya and
in the central and peninsular India. Rootstock is 2.5-5 cm,
thick. Leaves, 6-11 cm long, 3.8-6 cm wide, are ovate-oblong
to elliptic-oblong, with a narrow tip, heart-shaped at base,
thick, velvety beneath when young, smooth above. Leaf stalks
are up to 1.2 cm long. Flowers are small, 1-1.5 cm across, in 2
to 3-flowered fascicles in cymes in leaf axils. Sepal up is
divided nearly to the base, densely hairy outside. Sepals are
lance-shaped. Flowers are greenish- yellow or greenish-purple,
with oblong pointy petals. Fruit is a follicle, up to 7 x 1 cm,
ovoid-lanceshaped. Flowering: August-December.
Medicinal uses: It is traditionally used as a folk remedy in
certain regions of India for the treatment of bronchial asthma,
inflammation, bronchitis, allergies, rheumatism and dermatitis.
Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed in Mumbai.
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Common name: Arni अन(Hindi), Taggi gida (Kannada),
Taluddai (Tamil)
Botanical name: Clerodendrum
phlomidis Family: Verbenaceae (verbena family)

A fairly common shrub of arid plains, low hills, deserts of Sind,

Punjab and Baluchistan. Shrubs 1.5-3 m tall, stem ashy-grey,
branches pubescent. Leaves opposite, ovate to rhomboid-
ovate, 1.5-5 cm long, 1-3 cm broad, entire to sinuate-crenate,
subacute-obtuse; petiole up to 2.5 cm long. Flowers creamy-
white or pale yellowish, c. 1.5 cm across; pedicels 5-10 mm
long, densely hirsute; bracts ovate lanceolate. Calyx
campanulate, glabrous, pale or somewhat yellowish green,
somewhat inflated, 5-lobed; lobes 4-5 mm long, ovate-
triangulate, Corolla-tube 2-2.5 cm long, much narrower than
the calyx, pubescent externally; lobes 5, subequal, ovate-
elliptic, 7-8 mm long, obtuse. Drupe obovoid, 8-12 mm long,
black, wrinkled, usually 4-lobed, enclosed by the persistent
calyx; seeds oblong, white. Distribution: Pakistan, India, Sri
Lanka and Burma.
Medicinal uses: Root is bitter tonic and given in
convalescence of measles. Juice of leaves is alterative and
given in neglected syphilitic complaints. The root is given as a
demulcent in gonorrhoea, and decoction of the plant is
considered as an alterative. It helps cure stomach troubles and
swellings in cattle.
Identification Photographed in Garden of Five Senses, Delhi.
credit: Navendu Pagé
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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Malabar Nut, {Arusa, Vasala} अशा, वासाला

(Hindi), Nongmangkha angouba (Manipuri), ஆடாேதாைட
Adatodai (Tamil), Basak (Bengali)
Botanical name: Adhatoda vasica
Family: Acanthaceae (ruellia family)
Synonyms: Justicia adhatoda

A small evergreen, sub-herbacious bush which grows

commonly in open plains, especially in the lower Himalayas.
The Leaves are 10 to 16 cms in length, minutely hairy and
broadly lanceolate. A herbal plant which requires very little
watering and is an extremely hardy plant is Malabar nut. If
there is one herbal plant that needs to be singled out for
propagation and planting on a large scale, it would be this one.
Adhatoda in Tamil, meaning a plant shunned by herbivorous
animals. Propagated easily by cuttings, grows to a height of
eight to 14 feet and has attractive white flowers.
Medicinal uses: Adhatoda is useful for curing coughs, colds
and asthma and is easy to administer.It has been used for
centuries, and is mentioned in Sanskrit scriptures.
credit: Thingnam Sophia Photographed in Garden of Five Senses, Delhi
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Common name: Winter Cherry • Hindi: Ashwagandha अवगंधा,
Rasbhari • Kannada: Kanchuki • Marathi: Ghoda, Tilli
• Gujarati: Ghodaasun • Telugu: Vajigandha •Malayalam:
Amukkuram • Tamil: Amukkuram
Botanical name: Withania
somnifera Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)

Ashwagandha, is native to drier parts of India. It is a perennial

herb that reaches about 6 feet in nature. In the greenhouse
they flower in the late fall and winter. Orange fruits in
persistent papery calyxes follow the small greenish flowers.
Ashwagandha is propagated by division, cuttings or seed. Seed
is the best way to propagate them. Seed sown on moist sand
will germinate in 14-21 days at 20° C. A postal stamp was
issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this
Medicinal uses: Ashwagandha has been a prized top notch
adaptogenic tonic in India for 3000 - 4000 years. The plants
contain the alkaloids withanine and somniferine, which are
used to treat nervous disorders.
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Common name: Pink Scaly Rhododendron • Hindi: Atarasu,
Sumral, Simris, Talshi •Nepali: भाले सनपात
ु Bhaale Sunpati
Botanical name: Rhododendron
lepidotum Family: Ericaceae (Rhododendron family)

Pink Scaly Rhododendron is a low shrublet, growing to about a

meter tall. Narrow lanceshaped leaves, 2.5-4 cm long, are
densely covered with fleshy scales. Flowers are pink or purple,
borne in clusters of 2 to 4, on slender stalks. Flowers are about
2-2.5 cm across, broadly tubular with 5 spreading rounded
petals, scaly and glandular outside. Eight stamens protrude
out of the flowers with red filaments which are hairy on the
lower side. Fruit is a capsule, densely scaly, covered with
persisting sepals. Flowering: June-July.
Medicinal uses: The people of Manang district, central
Nepals, take the juice of the plant, believing it purifies the
blood. Pounded leaves are boiled in water and spread on cots,
beds, and mats to kill bugs.
credit: Nongthombam Ulysses Photographed in Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand.
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ntroduced Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Wild Snake Root, Devil Pepper, Be Still Tree,

American serpentwood, be still tree, devil root, milkbush
• Hindi: बडा चिका barachandrika, Chandrabhaga •Tamil:
Pampukaalaachchedi • Malayalam: Pampumkolli, Kattamalpori
• Telugu: papataku • Kannada: ೊಡ ಚ
ೆ dodda chandrike
• Bengali:  nd bar chandrika, n
k gandhanakuli
• Oriya: patalagarudi • Sanskrit: वनसप गंधा Vanasarpagandha,
सप नसनी Sarpanasini
Botanical name: Rauvolfia
tetraphylla Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Rauvolfia canescens, Rauvolfia heterophylla,
Rauvolfia hirsuta

Native to tropical America, Wild Snake Root is a small tree or

shrub that will reach 6 ft in height. Leaves are whorled,
medium to dark green in color, and occur in groups of 4
unequally-sized leaves at each node. In late summer to early
fall the very small, white flowers appear. Flowers to 5 mm
long, tube 3.7 mm long. Bright red berries form that turn black
as they ripen, and look like large pepper corns.
Medicinal uses: The roots yield the drug deserpidine, which is
an antihypertensive and tranquilizer.
Identification credit: Arvind
Kadus Photographed at Kamshet, Maharashtra.
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Common name: Asthma Weed, Common spurge, Cats hair
• Hindi: बड़ा दधी
ु Bara dudhi • Manipuri: Pakhamba maton
• Marathi: दधी
ु Dudhi • Tamil: Ammam Paccharisi •Malayalam:
Nelapalai • Telugu: Nanabalu • Kannada: Achchedida
• Bengali: Barokarni •Konkani: Dudurli
Botanical name: Euphorbia
hirta Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Asthma Weed is a slender-stemmed, annual hairy plant with

many branches, growing up to 40 cms tall, reddish or purplish
in color. Leaves are opposite, elliptic-oblong to oblong-
lancelike, 1-2.5 cm long, blotched with purple in the middle,
toothed at the edge. Flowers, purplish to greenish in color,
dense, axillary, short-stalked clusters or crowded cymes, about
1 mm in length. Capsules are broadly ovoid, hairy, three-
angled, about 1.5 cm.
Medicinal uses: Asthma weed has traditionally been used in
Asia to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm, though in
modern herbalism it is more used in the treatment of intestinal
amoebic dysentery.
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Common name: Large Caltrops • Hindi: बड़ा गोख Bara Gokhru
• Kannada: Ane neggilu • Malayalam: Ananerinnil • Tamil:
Yanai nerunjil • Oriya: Gokhara • Marathi: गोखरु Gokhura
• Gujarati: कड़वा गोख Kadva gokhru
Botanical name: Pedalium
murex Family: Pedaliaceae (sesame family)

Large Caltrops is a shrubby, stiff-stemmed herb, native to

India, grown for reputed medicinal and other uses. It is diffuse
annual, much branched, spreading, succulent, glandular, up to
60 cm tall. Roots similar to turmeric in colour. Leaves simple,
opposite, ovate or oblong-obovate, 1-4.5 cm long, irregularly
and coarsely crenate-serrate. Yellow flowers 1.5-2 cm across,
stalk 1-2 mm long, increasing up to 4 mm in fruit. Sepals 2
mm long; teeth linear, scaly outside, persistent. Petals fused
into a broad tube, 1-3 cm long; lobes obtuse. Stamens 0.5-1
cm long; anthers kidney shaped. The four angled seed is with
5 extremely sharp spines. It is an important famine food -
leaves eaten as vegetable.
Medicinal uses: Leaves are antibilious. Seeds are demulcant,
diuretic, tonic, muscilaginous and aphrodesiac. Used in male
impotence, gonorrhoea, and incontinence.
Identification credit: Pravin
Kawale Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Asian spider flower, Yellow spider flower,

Cleome, Tickweed • Hindi: Bagra • Urdu: Hulhul • Malayalam:
Naivela • Tamil: Naikkaduku • Kannada: Nayibela •Gujarati:
Pilitalvani • Telugu: Kukkavaminta • Marathi: पवला तळवण
Pivala tilavan
Botanical name: Cleome viscosa
Family: Capparaceae (Caper family)
Synonyms: Polanisia viscosa

Asian spider flower is a usually tall annual herb, up to a meter

high, more or less hairy with glandular and eglandular hairs.
Leaves 3-5-foliolate, petiolate; leaflets obovate, elliptic-oblong,
very variable in size, often 2-4 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm broad,
middle one largest; petiole up to 5 cm long. Racemes
elongated, up to 30 cm long, with corym¬bose flowers at the
top and elongated mature fruits below, bracteate. Flowers 10-
15 mm across, whitish or yellowish; pedicels 6-20 mm long;
bracts foliaceous. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, 3-4 mm long, 1-2
mm wide, glandular-pubescent. Petals 8-15 mm long, 2-4 mm
broad, oblong-obovate. Stamens 10-12 (rarely more, up to
20), not exceeding the petals; gynophore absent. Fruit 30-75
mm long, 3-5 mm broad, linear-oblong, erect, obliquely
striated, tapering at both ends, glandular-pubescent, slender;
style 2-5 mm long; seeds many, 1-1.4 mm in diam., glabrous
with longitudinal striations and transverse ridges, dark brown.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are diaphoretic, rubefacient and
vesicant. They are used as an external application to wounds
and ulcers. The juice of the leaves has been used to relieve
earache. The seeds are anthelmintic, carminative, rubefacient
and vesicant. The seed contains 0.1% viscosic acid and 0.04%
Identification credit: Pravin
Kawale & L.P.A. Reddy Photographed in Okhla Pakshi Vihar, Delhi
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ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Baheda, Belliric Myrobalan, Bastard

myrobalan, Beach almond, Bedda nut tree • Hindi: बहे ड़ा
bahera, बहवीय
ु bahuvirya, भतवास
ू bhutvaas, कक kalk, कष फल
karshphal • Manipuri: bahera • Marathi: बेहडा behada, बभीतक
ु kalidruma, वेहळा vehala • Tamil: தான்றி tanri
bibhītaka, कलम
• Malayalam: n thaanni • Telugu: 
bhutavasamu, к  karshaphalamu,  tadi,  
tandrachettu, к vibhitakamu • Kannada: ಾೆಾ
taarekaayi • Bengali:  baheda • Oriya: bahada • Konkani:

goting • Urdu: Bahera • Assamese: bauri • Gujarati: બહડા
baheda •Khasi: Dieng rinyn • Sanskrit: अः akshah, बहवीय

bahuvirya, बभीतकः bibhitakah, कष ः karshah, वभीतकः vibhitakah
• Nepali: बर barro
Botanical name: Terminalia
bellirica Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)
Synonyms: Myrobalanus bellirica

Baheda is a tall handsome tree, with characteristic bark, 12-50

m tall. Leaves are alternately arranged or fascicled at the end
of branches, elliptic or elliptic obovate, leathery, dotted, entire.
Leaf tip is narrow- pointed or rounded. Leaves are 8-20 cm
long, 7.5-15 cm wide, on stalks 2.15 cm long. Flowers arise in
spikes in leaf axils, 5-15 cm long. Flowers are greenish yellow,
5-6 mm across, stalklesse, upper flowers of the spike are
male, lower flowers are bisexual. Stamens are 3-4 mm long.
Fruit is obovoid 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter, covered with minute
pale pubescence, stone very thick, indistinctly 5 angled.
Medicinal uses: In traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine,
Baheda is known as "Bibhitaki;" in its fruit form it is used in
the popular Indian herbal rasayana treatment triphala. This
species is used by some tribes in the Indian subcontinent for
its mind-altering qualities - they smoke dried kernels. Too
much of this can cause nausea and vomiting.
credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed at Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Maharashtra.
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Common name: Chinaberry tree, Persian lilac, Pride of India,
Bead tree, Lilac tree •Hindi: Bakain बकैन • Manipuri: Seizrak
• Marathi: Bakan-nimb बकाणनंब • Bengali: Bakarjam • Tamil:
காட்டு ேவம்பூ Kattu vembhu
Botanical name: Melia
azedarach Family: Meliaceae (mahogany family)
Synonyms: Melia azedarach var. japonica, Melia toosendan

The Persian lilac tree is frequently confused with Neem.

However, the structure of the leaves and the color of the
flowers, white in Neem and lilac in Persian lilac, are sufficient
to distinguish between the two. A large evergreen tree native
to India, growing wild in the sub-Himalayan region. In India,
Muslims are credited with the spread of the tree. The bark is
reddish brown, becoming fissured on mature trees. The
deciduous leaves are bipinnate (twice feather-like) and 1-2 ft
long. The individual leaflets, each about 2 in long and less than
half as wide, are pointed at the tips and have toothed edges.
In spring and early summer, Persian lilac produces masses of
purplish, fragrant, star shaped flowers, each about 3/4 in in
diameter, that arch or droop in 8 in panicles. They are followed
by clusters of spherical, yellow fruits about 3/4 in in diameter
that persist on the trees even after the leaves have fallen. All
parts of Persian lilac tree are poisonous. Eating as few as 6
berries can result in death. Birds that eat too many seeds have
been known to become paralyzed.
Medicinal uses: Bark and fruit extract is used to kill parasitic
roundworms. In Manipur, leaves and flowers are used as
poultice in nervous headache. Leaves, bark and fruit are insect
repellant. Seed-oil is used in rheumatism. Wood-extract is
used in asthma.
Photographed in Delhi
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aturalized Photo: Tabish

Common name: Sausage Tree, Common Sausage Tree

• Hindi: बलम खीरा Balam khira, झाड़ फ़ानस
ू Jhar fanoos
• Kannada: Aanethoradu Kaayi, Mara Sowthae • Telugu:
Enuga thondamu, Kijili, Naagamalle
Botanical name: Kigelia
africana Family: Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)
Synonyms: Crescentia pinnata, Kigelia pinnata

The blood-red flowers of the sausage tree bloom at night on

long, ropelike stalks that hang down from the limbs of this
tropical tree. The fragrant, nectar-rich blossoms are pollinated
by bats, insects and sunbirds in their native habitat. The
mature fruits dangle from the long stalks like giant sausages.
They may be up to two feet long and weigh up to 6.8 kg. The
flowers are seen hanging from the tree while they haven't
opened. After they open, they fall off quite soon. The fruit,
while not palatable for humans, is popular with hippos,
baboons, and giraffes. Mainly grown as a curiosity and
ornamental, both for its beautiful deep red flowers and its
strange fruit.
Medicinal uses: There are also a range of traditional uses for
the fruit, varying from topical treatments for skin afflictions, to
treatment for intestinal worms. There are some steroid
chemicals found in the sausage tree that are currently added
to commercially available shampoos and facial
creams. Photographed in Delhi.
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Common name: Banchalita • Hindi: बनचलता banchalita
• Manipuri:  Koknal •Bengali:   Banchalita
Botanical name: Leea asiatica Family: Leeaceae (Leea
Synonyms: Leea aspera, Leea crispa, Phytolacca asiatica

Banchalita is an erect gergarious shrub with angular stem

swollen above the nodes and internodes. Petioles and
peduncles usually have narrow crisped wings. Leaves are
pinnately compound - not double-pinnate like Bandicoot Berry.
Leaflets are 3-5, laterals opposite, ovate or ovate-oblong,
serrate, tip sharp, base rounded or heart-shaped. Flowers, 5-6
mm across, greenish white, are borne in short, cymes at the
end of branches. Calyx united, cup-like, teeth 5, obscure, often
glandular-tipped. Petals 5, connate, 2-3 mm long, ovate,
acute. Stamens 5, united; staminal tube 5-lobes, 2-celled.
Ovary inserted on the disc; style short; stigma 2-lobed. Leaf
extract is mixed with water and used for washing hair by Chiru
tribe in NE India. Flowering: September.
Medicinal uses: Root tuber is used against guineaworms. The
root with bark ofBoswellia serrata is made into paste which is
prescribed in case of snake-bite by the tribes of Hazaribag
district of Bihar.
Identification credit: Dinesh Valke
Photographed in Maharashtra.
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Common name: Weaver's Beam Tree • Hindi: बनपलास
Banpalas, मोखड़ी Mokhdi, मोखा Mokha • Kannada: bula, gante,
mogalingamara • Malayalam: maggamaram, malamplasu,
muskkakavrksam • Marathi: मोखा Mokha, mokadi, nakti
• Oriya: mokka •Sanskrit: Ghantapatali, Golidha, Kastapatola
• Tamil: kattupparutticceti, mogalingam, makalinkam
• Telugu: bullakaya, magalinga, tondamukkudi
Botanical name: Schrebera
swietenioides Family: Oleaceae (Jasmine family)

Weaver's Beam Tree is a moderate sized deciduous tree,

growing up to 20 m tall, with thick grey bark. Leaves are
pinnate, with 3-4 pairs of opposite leaflets, and a terminal one.
Leaflets are ovate, entire, unequal-sided, petioles thickened at
the insertion of leaflets. Flowers are yellowish white,
variegated with brown, in terminal trichotomous, corymb-like,
compound clusters. Flowers are fragrant at night. Flower tube
is funnel- shaped, 8-12 mm long. Petals are 5-7, widely
spreading, wedg-shaped, blunt, with brown glandular raised
dots on the upper side. Capsule is the size of a hen's egg,
pear-shaped, woody, hard, scabrous, 2-celled, seeds 4 in each
cell, pendulous, irregularly oval, compressed, produced into a
long membranous wing. The wood is used by weavers to make
the beam of the looms. Flowering: February-April.
Medicinal uses: The roots, bark and leaves are bitter, acrid,
appetising, digestive, thermogenic, stomachic, depurative,
constipating urinary astringent and anthelmintic. The fruits are
reported to be useful in curing hydrocele.
Identification credit: Satish Phadke
Photographed in Maharashtra.
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aturalized Photo: Navendu Pāgé

Common name: Indian Mulberry, Great morinda • Hindi:

Bartundi बारतडी
ु • Telugu: Mogali • Marathi: Nagakunda
• Tamil: Nuna • Malayalam: Mannapavatta • Kannada: Tagase
maddi • Gujarati: Surangi सरंु गी • Oriya: Pindre • Bengali: Hurdi
• Konkani: Bartondi
Botanical name: Morinda
citrifolia Family: Rubiaceae (coffee family)

Great morinda is a shrub or small tree native to Southeast Asia

but has been extensively spread by man throughout India and
into the Pacific islands as far as the islands of French
Polynesian, of which Tahiti is the most prominent. It can also
be found in parts of the West Indies. The plant grows well on
sandy or rocky shores. Apart from saline conditions, the plant
also can withstand drought and grows in secondary soils. It
can grow up to 9 m tall, and has large, simple, dark green,
shiny and deeply veined leaves. The plant flowers and fruits all
year round. The flowers are small and white. The fruit is a
multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is
hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval
and reaches 4-7 cm in size. At first green, the fruit turns
yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds.
It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell
and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine
Medicinal uses: Scientific studies have investigated noni's
effect on the growth of cancerous tissue. One such study found
that noni inhibited and reduced growth of the capillary vessels
sprouting from human breast tumor explants and, at increased
concentrations, the noni caused existing vessels to rapidly
Identification credit: Navendu Pāgé
Photographed in Maharashtra.
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Common name: Hill Glory Bower • Hindi: Titabhamt, भांट
Bhant • Manipuri: Kuthap manbi • Marathi: भंडीरा Bhandira
• Tamil: Perukilai • Malayalam: Peruku • Telugu: Gurrapu
katilyaku • Kannada: Ibbane, Basavana pada • Bengali: Bhant
• Sanskrit: Bhandirah • Nepali: राजबेल Rajbeli
Botanical name: Clerodendrum
viscosum Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)
Synonyms: Clerodendrum infortunatum, Volkameria

Hill glory bower is a gregarious shrub, 1-2 m high. The

quadrangular branches are covered with sily yellwish hair.
Oppositely arranged leaves are oval, 10-20 cm long, hairy. The
base of the leaf is heart-shaped. White flowers, tinged with
pink, occur in large panicles. The five white petals are tinged
pink at the base. Four long stamens, 3 cm, protrude out of the
flower. Flowering: March-April.
Medicinal uses: Extract of the leaves is given orally in fever
and bowel troubles in the Kuki and Rongmei tribes in the
North-East India. Fresh leaf-juice is introduced in the rectum
for removal of ascarids. Leaves and flowers are used to cure
scorpion sting.
credit: Rahul Prabhu Photographed in Maharashtra and Belgaon, Karnataka.
ative Photo: Pravin Kawale

Common name: Marking Nut, dhobi nut tree, Indian marking

nut tree, Malacca bean, marany nut, marsh nut, oriental
cashew nut, varnish tree • Hindi: भलावां or भलावन bhilawan,
लार billar • Marathi: भ
लातक bhallataka, भ
लावा bhillava,
बबा bibba •Tamil: ேசங்ெகாட்ைட cen-kottai, ேசாம்பலம்
compalam, காலகம் kalakam, காவகா kavaka,
கிட்டாக்கனிக்ெகாட்ைட kitta-k-kani-k-kottai • Malayalam:
ak alakuceer, k  ceenkkuru, 

theenkotta • Telugu:  bhallatamu, 

jidimamidichettu • Kannada: ೇರ geru, ೇರನ ಮರ gerannina
mara • Bengali: l bhallata, l bhallataka • Oriya:
bhollataki, bonebhalia • Konkani: अंबेर amberi, बबा bibba
• Urdu: baladur, ‫ بھـــالون‬bhilavan, ‫ بـــالر‬billar •Assamese: 
bhala • Gujarati: ભલામો bhilamo, ભલાંુ bhilamu • Sanskrit:
अवला ahvala, अशतः arshastah, अकः arudhkh, भ
bhallatakah, विनः vahnih, वषाया vishasya • Nepali: भलायो
Botanical name: Semecarpus
anacardium Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Synonyms: Anacardium orientale

Marking Nut is a moderate-sized deciduous tree with large stiff

leaves. Leaves are 7-24 inches long, 2-12 inches wide,
obovate-oblong, rounded a t the tip. Leaf base is rounded,
heart-shaped or narrowed into the stalk, leathery in texture.
Flowers is small, borne in panicles shorter than the leaves.
Fruit is a drupe 1 inch long, ovoid or oblong, smooth and
shining, black when ripe, seated on a fleshy cup. The stem
yields, by tapping, an acrid, viscid juice from which a varnish is
prepared. The nut yields a powerful and bitter substance used
everywhere in India as a substitute for marking ink for clothes
by washermen, hence it is frequently called Dhobi Nut. It gives
a black colour to cotton fabrics, but before application it must
be mixed with limewater as a fixator. The fruits are also used
as a dye. They are also largely employed in Indian medicine.
The fleshy cups on which the nuts rest and the kernels of the
nuts are eaten.
Medicinal uses: The fruit is useful in leucoderma, scaly skin,
allergic, dermatitis, poisonous bites, leprosy, cough, asthma,
and dyspepsia. It is extremely beneficial in the diseases like
piles, colitis, diarrhea, dyspepsia, ascites, tumours and worms.
The topical application of its oil on swollen joints and traumatic
wounds effectively controls the pain.
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale
Photographed in Maharashtra.
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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: False Daisy, Trailing eclipta • Hindi: ंगराज

Bhringaraj, केशराज Kesharaj • Manipuri: Uchi-sumbal • Tamil:
கrசிலாங்கண்ணி Karisilanganni, Kavanthakara • Malayalam:
Kannunni • Telugu: Galagara • Kannada: Ajagara • Oriya:
Kesarda • Sanskrit: ंगराज Bhringaraj
Botanical name: Eclipta
prostrata Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Eclipta erecta, Eclipta alba, Eclipta punctata,
Verbesina prostrata

False Daisy is an annual commonly found growing in waste

ground. Stems are erect or prostate, entirely velvety, often
rooting at nodes. Oppositely arranged stalkless, oblong, lance-
shaped, or elliptic leaves are 2.5-7.5 cm long. It has a short,
flat or round, brown stem and small white daisy-like flowers on
a long stalk. Eclipta grows abundantly in the tropics and is
used with success in Ayurvedic medicine. Bhringaraj was used
by Hindus in their Shradh, the ceremony for paying respect to
a recently deceased person. This plant is one of the Hindu’s
“Ten Auspicious Flowers” and is sometimes called, “the king of
Medicinal uses: Bhringraj is mainly used in hair oils, but it
has been considered a good drug in hepatotoxicity. In hair oils,
it may be used alongwith Centela asiatica (Brahmi) and
Phyllanthus emblica (Amla) It may be used to prevent habitual
abortion and miscarriage and also in cases of post-delivery
uterine pain. A decoction of leaves is used in uterine
haemorrhage. The juice of the plant with honey is given to
infants with castor oil for expulsion of worms. For the relief in
piles, fumigation with Eclipta alba is considered beneficial. The
paste prepared by mincing fresh plants has got an anti-
inflammatory effect and may be applied to insect bites, stings,
swellings and other skin diseases.
Identification credit: Navendu
Pagé Photographed in Millenium Park, Delhi.
ative Photo: Rahul Prabhu Khanolkar

Common name: Crested Lepidagathis • Hindi: बख़ार

ु जडी
Bukhar Jadi • Marathi: भई
ू गद
 Bhui Gend, भू तेरडा Bhu terada
• Tamil: Karappanpoondu • Kannada: Surya Kantha
Botanical name: Lepidagathis
cristata Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)

Crested Lepidagathis is a perennial herb, with almost no stem.

Branches, 20 cm long, arise out of a globose head on the
ground, and spread out. Flowers are also arise stalkless from
this globose head. Flowers are pale pink, 2-lipped. The upper
lip is notched, and the lower lip is divided into 3 lobes.
Medicinal uses: In Chattisgarh they use this herb in
treatment of fever particularly in treatment of Malarial fever.
The decoction of leaves is used internally for this purpose. Its
utility in treatment of fever has given it the name Bukhar Jadi
In reference literatures, the use of this herb in treatment of
itchy affections of skin has been mentioned. The traditional
healers of Chhattisgarh Plains are aware of this use. In many
parts of Chhattisgarh, the cattle owners use the decoction of
this herb to wash the cattle in rainy season in order to keep it
free from flies.
Identification credit: Rahul Prabhu Photographed in Maharashtra.
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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Common Yarrow, Sneezewort, Soldier's

friend, Thousand-leaf • Hindi: Gandrain, Puthkanda, भतक
ू ॆ शी
Bhut Kesi • Marathi: Rojmaari • Tamil: Achchilliya •Konkani:
Rajmari • Urdu: Tukhm gandana, Buiranjasif, Brinjasuf
Botanical name: Achillea
millefolium Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Achillea lanulosa, Achillea magna

Yarrows are herbaceous perennials, most with fragrant lacy

foliage and small daisy-like flowerheads borne in rounded
corymbs. Common yarrow has leaves that are grayish green,
aromatic, and very finely dissected, like soft dainty ferns. The
plant forms dense spreading mats of lacy leaves from rhizomes
that creep beneath the ground surface. In summer yarrow
sends up erect, grayish, usually unbranched stems, 1-3 ft tall.
The fifty or more small, about 0.25 in across with whitish
flowerheads are borne in flat to domed clusters. Flower have
white, 5-ray petals that surround tiny yellow to light cream-
coloured disc florets, each flower head is 3-5 mm across; occur
as independent and terminal round or flat-topped clusters;
clusters are 6-30 cm across. The plant may have been named
after the Greek person Achilles. Within India, Common Yarrow
is found in the Himalayan region of Jammu & Kashmir,
Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand in an altitude range of 1050-
3600 m.
Medicinal uses: In Greek mythology it is said to have been
used by Achilles to heal his warriors during the battle of Troy -
hence the name "Achillea". In Anglo-Saxon times it was used
as a charm to ward off evil and illness - and as a treatment for
wounds, much as Achilles used it, giving it a common name for
the period of 'Soldier's Wound-Wort'. Yarrow has been used to
stop bleeding by inserting leaves into the nostrils of wounded
soldiers. Druids used Yarrow to predict seasonal weather. In
Chinese legends, Yarrow was used to predict the future.
Identification credit: Shaista Ahmad
Photographed in Delhi & Kerala.
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ative Photo: Kiran Srivastava

Common name: Gandarusa, Warer willow • Hindi: Nili

nargandi, Kala bashimb •Marathi: tev, bakas, kalaadulsa
• Tamil: karunochi, vadaikkutti • Malayalam: karunochchi,
vada-kodi • Telugu: addasaramu, gandharasamu, nalla-noch-
chili •Kannada: aduthodagidda, karalakkigidde, karinekki
• Bengali: jagatmadan • Oriya: nilanirgundi • Assamese: tita-
bahak, bishalya karani • Sanskrit: bhutakeshi, gandharasa,
indrani, kapika, krishnanirgundi
Botanical name: Justicia
gendarussa Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)
Synonyms: Gendarussa vulgaris, Adhatoda subserrata

Gandarusa is an erect, branched, smooth undershrub 0.8-1.5

m tall. The leaves are lance-shaped, 7-14 cm long, 1-2.5 cm
wide, and pointed at the ends. The rather small flowers are
borne in 4-12 cm long spikes, at the end of branches or in leaf
axils. The teeth of the sepals cup are smooth, linear, and
about 3 mm long. The flowers are about 1.5 cm long, white or
pink, with purple spots. The capsule is club-shaped, about 12
mm long, and smooth.
Medicinal uses: Gandarusa is reputed for its beneficial effects
in Respiratory disorders like cough, cold, bronchitis, throat
infections, pulmonary infections and allergic disorders like
bronchial asthma. It is assumed to possess greater medicinal
value to yellow vasa plant or Adhatoda vasica.
credit: N.S. Photographed at Yeoor Hills, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Maharashtra.
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ative Photo: Pravin Kawale

Common name: Giant potato, Large Forest Ipomoea • Hindi:

ू कोहाड़ा Bhuyikohada •Telugu: Nelagummudu • Tamil:
Palmudamgi • Malayalam: Mutalakkilannu • Marathi: भई
ू कोहाला
Botanical name: Ipomoea mauritiana
Family: Convolvulaceae (morning glory family)
Synonyms: Ipomoea digitata, Ipomoea insignis

Giant potato is a type of morning glory plant. Like the sweet

potato, it belongs to the Ipomoea genera. It grows as a vine.
The origin of Ipomoea mauritiana is unknown, it is there all
over the tropics. It is naturalised in many parts of the world.
This vine has stems that can grow to 10 m. Leaf blade is
circular in outline, 7-18 X 7-22 cm, usually palmately 5-7-
divided to or beyond middle, rarely entire or shallowly lobed.
Inflorescences few to many flowered. Flowers are pink or
reddish purple, with a darker center, funnelform, 5-6 cm
Medicinal uses: The leaves and roots are used externally to
treat tuberculosis and for the treatment of external and breast
infections. In Ayurveda, a decoction of the tuberous roots are
used for the preparation of medicinal wine. The Ayurvedic
name is Kiribadu Ala, and it is also an ingardient in
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra
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Common name: Bilimbi, Cucumber-Tree • Hindi: बलबी
Bilimbi • Manipuri: Heinajom •Marathi: Bilambi • Tamil: Pulima
• Malayalam: Vilumpi • Telugu: Gommareku • Kannada:
Belambu • Konkani: बंबुल Bimbul
Botanical name: Averrhoa
bilimbi Family: Oxalidaceae (Wood sorrel family)

The bilimbi tree is long-lived, reaches 5-10 m in height. Its

trunk is short and quickly divides up into ramifications. Bilimbi
leaves, 30-60 cm long, are alternate, imparipirmate and
cluster at branch extremities. There are around 11 to 37
alternate or subopposite oblong leaflets. This Carambola
relative produces very small pickle-like fruits which are borne
directly on the trunk of the tree and also on the branches. The
fruits are preceded by small red flowers on the trunk and
branches. Its flowers, like its fruits, are found in hairy panicles
that directly emerge from the trunk as well as from the oldest,
most solid branches. The yellowish or purplish flowers are tiny,
fragrant and have 5 petals. The bilimbi fruit's form ranges
from ellipsoid to almost cylindrical. Its length is 4-10 cm. The
bilimbi is 5-sided, but in a less marked way than the
carambola. If unripe, it is bright green and crispy. It turns
yellowish as it ripens. The flesh is juicy, green and extremely
acidic. The fruit's skin is glossy and very thin. The bilimbi is too
acid for eating raw but the green uncooked fruits are prepared
as a relish in Suriname. Originated seemingly from the
Moluccas, in India, where it is usually found in gardens, the
bilimbi has gone wild in the warmest regions of the country.
Medicinal uses: In Malaysia the leaves of bilimbi are used as
a treatment for venereal disease. A leaf decoction is taken as a
medicine to relieve rectal inflammation. It seems to be
effective against coughs and thrush.
Identification credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed in Maharashtra.
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Indian Pennywort, Coinwort, Asiatic

coinwort, American coinwort, spadeleaf • Hindi: Brahma
manduki म मंडु क • Malayalam: Kodangal • Kannada:
Vondelaga • Tamil: Vallarai • Assamese: Bor-mani-muni
• Manipuri:  Peruk •Telugu: Saraswataku • Bengali: Bora
thulkari • Marathi: Karinga
Botanical name: Centella asiatica
Family: Apiaceae (Carrot family)

Indian Pennywort is a small creeping herb with shovel shaped

leaves emerging alternately in clusters at the stem nodes. The
runners lie along the ground and the inch long leaves with
their scalloped edges rise above on long reddish petioles. The
insignificant greenish- to pinkish-white flowers are borne in
dense umbels (clusters in which all the flower stalks arise from
the same point) on separate stems in the summer. The seeds
are pumpkin-shaped nutlets 0.1-0.2 in long. In India it is
revered as a medicinal herb, and particularly in Manipur the
full plant is eaten as food like a leafy vegetable. Indian
Pennywort appears to have originated in the wetlands of Asia.
China, India, and Malaya were probably within its original
Medicinal uses: Indian Pennywort is revered as one of the
great multi-purpose miracle herbs of Oriental medicine. It has
been in use for thousands of years and has been employed to
treat practically every ailment known to man at one time or
place or another. The leaf and root extract has been used in
Ayurvedic medicine for a long time but has become very
popular in the past couple of years for both internal use as well
as topical application - although the cosmetic application is
relatively new. In Ayurvedic practice it also has a valuable and
sought-after Vayasthapana effect - helping to retard the aging
process.< div>
Photographed in Dharamshala & New Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Stinking Cassia, Chinese senna, foetid

cassia, Java bean, low senna, peanut weed, sickle senna,
sicklepod • Assamese: Bon medelua, Dari diga, Medeluwa
•Bengali: Panevar, Chakunda • Hindi: Panwar, Chakunda,
Chakvat • Kannada: Sogata •Malayalam: Sakramardakam
• Manipuri:   Thaunum namthibi • Marathi: Takla,
Tankala • Mizo: Kelbe-on • Oriya: chakunda • Tamil: ேசநாவு
Senavu • Urdu: Panwar, Panevar, Tarota
Botanical name: Senna
tora Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Cassia tora

Stinking Cassia is a small erect hairlesss shrub, about 1 m tall,

commonly found growing wild on roadsides. True to its name,
foetid/stinking cassia has a disagreeable smell. It is widely
spreading with numerous ascending, hairless branches. The
compound leaves are arranged spirally and usually have three
pairs of symmetrically egg-shaped leaflets up to 2 inches long.
One to three yellow flowers appear on short axillary stems.
The linear pods grow to 8 inches long, curve downward and
contain many shiny, angular seeds. It occurs abundantly in
open pastures, and is very common on roadsides and
wasteland. In organic farms of India, Stinking Cassia is used
as natural pesticide.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, the leaves and seeds
are useful in leprosy, ringworm, flatulence, colic, dyspepsia,
constipation, cough, bronchitis, cardiac disorders.
Identification credit: Prashant
Awale Photographed in Panvel, Maharashtra.
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ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Salaparni • Hindi: चपकनो Chapakno • Tamil:

நமல்லி Nirmalli •Malayalam:  Muvvila, Moovila
• Telugu: Nayakuponna, Muyyakuponna •Sanskrit: Salaparni,
Botanical name: Pseudarthria
viscida Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Hedysarum viscidum

Salaparni is a perennial under shrub which grows all over India

up to 1000 m altitude. It attains the height about 60-120 cm.
The branches are slender and covered with minute white hair.
The leaves are 7.5-15 cm long and 2.5-5 cm broad, trifoliate,
ovate-oblong, hairy and densely grey-silky beneath. The
flowers purplish or pink, in 15-30 cm long axillary racemes.
The fruits, pods, oblong, flattened, covered with sticky hairs.
The seeds 4-6, compressed and brownish black in color. The
plant flowers in May.
Medicinal uses: The whole plant of salaparni is used for
medicinal purpose in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb is seldom
used externally. Internally it is useful in vast range of
diseases. It is used in the treatment for asthma and nervous
dysfunction. It is also used in the treatment of insect bites and
used against inflammations, vomiting, etc.
Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed in Maharashtra.
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Common name: Common Leucas • Hindi: छोटा हकसा
ु Chhota
halkusa, गॊफा Gophaa •Manipuri: Mayanglambum • Marathi:
Tamba • Tamil: தும்ைப Thumbai • Malayalam: Tumba
• Telugu: Tummachettu • Kannada: Tumbe guda • Bengali:
Ghal ghase • Oriya: Bhutamari • Konkani: Tumbo • Sanskrit:
ु Dronapushpi
Botanical name: Leucas aspera Family: Lamiaceae (Mint

Common Leucas is an erect and diffusely branched annual

herb. Leaves are linear or oblong, 2.5 to 7.5 cm long with
blunt tips and scalloped margins. Whorls are large, terminal
and axillary, about 2.5 cm in diameter and crowded with white
bell shaped flowers. Calyx is variable, with an upper lip and
short, triangular teeth.
Medicinal uses: A popular Pot Herb believed to help develop
resistance to fight diseases.
Photographed in Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Kiran Srivastava

Common name: Indian Borage • Hindi: Chhota Kalpa

• Gujarati: Undhanphuli •Kannada: Katte tume soppu • Tamil:
Kallutaitumapi • Telugu: Guvvagutti • Marathi: Chota Kalpa
• Sanskrit: Adhapuspi
Botanical name: Trichodesma
indicum Family: Boraginaceae (forget-me-not family)

This is an erect, spreading, branched, annual herb, about 50

centimeters in height, with hairs springing from tubercles. The
leaves are stalkless, opposite, lanceolate, 2 to 8 centimeters
long, pointed at the tip, and heart-shaped at the base. The
flowers occur singly in the axils of the leaves. The sepal tube
(calyx) is green, hairy, and 1 to 13 centimeters long, with
pointed lobes. The flower tube is pale blue, with the limb about
1.5 centimeters in diameter, and the petals pointed. The fruit
is ellipsoid, and is enclosed by the calyx. The nutlets are about
5 millimeters long, and rough on the inner surface. It is found
throughout India, on roadsides and stony dry wastelands, upto
1,500 m.
Medicinal uses: The plant is acrid, bitter in taste. In herbal
medicine jargon, it is thermogenic, emollient, alexeteric,
anodyne, anti-inflammatory, carminative, constipating,
diuretic, depurative, ophthalmic, febrifuge and pectoral. This
herb is also used in arthralgia, inflammations, dyspepsia,
diarrhoea, dysentery, strangury, skin diseases and
Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag &
Navendu Pagé Photographed in Maharashtra.
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Common name: Chir pine, Himalayan longleaf pine, Chir चीड
(Hindi), Wuchan (Manipuri)
Botanical name: Pinus roxburghii Family: Pinaceae (pine
Synonyms: Pinus longifolia

Among the principal pines found in India, chir pine is the most
important. Native to the Himalayas, it is good as a street tree
too. This is one of the least exacting of the Himalayan trees
growing sometimes on bare rocks where only a few species are
capable of existing. It is a resinous tree capable of yielding
resin continuously provided rill method of tapping is adopted.
Erect, round-headed evergreen tree with one or more trunks.
Grows at moderate rate to 30 ft., with spread of 20 ft at
maturity. The bark is red-brown, thick and deeply fissured at
the base of the trunk, thinner and flaky in the upper crown.
The leaves are needle-like, in fascicles of three, very slender,
20-35 cm long, and distinctly yellowish green. The flowers are
monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but
both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated
by wind. The cones are ovoid conic, 12-24 cm long and 5-8 cm
broad at the base when closed, green at first, ripening glossy
chestnut-brown when 24 months old. They open slowly over
the next year or so.
Medicinal uses: The turpentine obtained from the resin of all
pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It
is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney
and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a
rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It
is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is
useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and
respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and
TB. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of
skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in
the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths
and inhalers. The wood is diaphoretic and stimulant. It is
useful in treating burning of the body, cough, fainting and
Photographed in Delhi
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Common name: Indian Elm, entire-leaved elm tree, jungle
cork tree, south Indian elm tree • Hindi: चलबल chilbil, काजू
kanju, पपड़ी papri • Marathi: ऐनसादडा ainasadada, वावळ or वावळा
vavala • Tamil: ஆயா aya • Malayalam:  aaval
• Telugu:  nali •Bengali:  я nata karanja • Oriya:

dhauranjan • Konkani: वांवळो vamvlo • Gujarati: ચરલ charal,

 charel, કણજો kanjo • Sanskrit: चरववः chirivilva • Nepali:
sano pangro
Botanical name: Holoptelea
integrifolia Family: Ulmaceae (Elm family)
Synonyms: Ulmus integrifolia

Indian Elm is a large deciduous tree, gowing up to 18 m tall. It

has grey bark, covered with blisters, peeling in corky scales on
old trees. Alternately arranged leaves are elliptic-ovate, 8-13
cm long and 3.2-6.3 cm wide, smooth, with entire margins,
and a pointed tip. Leaf base is rounded or heart-shaped.
Stipules are lance-shaped. Crushed leaves emit an unpleasant
odour. Flowers are small, greenish-yellow to brownish,
pubescent, borne in short racemes or fascicles at the scars of
fallen leaves. Sepals are velvety, often 4. Fruit is an a circular
samara, 2.5 cm in diameter, with membranous, net-veined
wings, and flat seed.
Medicinal uses: The bark of Indian Elm is used in
rheumatism. Seed and paste of stem bark is used in treating
ringworm. Bark and leaves are used for treating oedema,
diabetes, leprosy and other skin diseases, intestinal disorders,
piles and sprue.
credit: Dinesh Photographed at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Spanish Needles, yellow flowered blackjack,

black jack, five leaved blackjack, beggar ticks • Hindi: चचा
Botanical name: Bidens
biternata Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Coreopsis biternata

Spanish Needles is an erect annual herb, up to 1 m. Closely

related to B. pilosa, but can be distinguished by the leaves,
which are usually 5-7 foliolate, with the lowermost pair
redivided into two to three segments. The outer involucral
bracts resemble those of B. bipinnata. The achenes are up to
16 mm long, almost glabrous. The flowers are yellow,
including the ray-florets. Spanish Needles is a widespread
weed of disturbed and cultivated areas.
Medicinal uses: Used to treat eye and ear affections (leaf
juice); applied to skin affections in general, as a haemostatic
on wounds, and wrapped around the umbilical cord of babies
(rubbed leaves)
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Panicled Swertia • Hindi: चराईता Charaita
• Sanskrit: Kiratatikta •Nepali: चराईतो Chiraito
Botanical name: Swertia
paniculata Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian family)
Synonyms: Ophelia paniculata, Ophelia wallichii, Swertia

Panicled Swertia is an annual herb, growing up to 80-120 cm

tall. Roots are yellow and fibrous. Branched stems are slender,
erect, 1.5-4 mm in diameter. Basal leaves wither away at
maturity. Stem leaves are nearly stalkless, narrow lance-
shaped, 2-5.5 cm long, 4-14 mm wide, margin fringed with
hairs. Inflorescences are panicles of cymes, many flowered,
spreading, to 70 cm. Flower stalks are erect, 0.6-1.5 cm long.
Flowers are 5 parted, meaning with most parts occuring in
fives. Sepal tube is 1-1.5 mm, with ovate-lance-shaped sepals,
6-10 × 2-5 mm. Flowers are pale yellow- green, with 2
blackish purple spots above each nectary. Flower tube is 1-1.5
mm, with ovate petals, 6-8 mm long, with narrow tips.
Nectaries are 1 per petal, horseshoe-shaped, naked. Stamens
are 4-5 mm long, with purple anthers. Capsules are ovoid, 8-
10 mm. Flowering: August-October.
Medicinal uses: Decoction of the plant is used as tonic. Plant
is also used as substitute for Chirayita in the treatment of
malaria and other fever.
Identification credit: Navendu
Pāgé Photographed in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Chitra, Indian barberry, Tree turmeric, Nepal

barberry • Hindi: चा Chitra • Tamil: Mullukala • Malayalam:
Maramanjal • Bengali: Darhaldi
Botanical name: Berberis
aristata/chitria Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry famil)

Chitra is an evergreen shrub found commonly in Garhwal and

Himalayas. It grows to 4 m high and 0.5 m wide. Leaves, in
tufts of 5-8, lance-like, simple spiny, toothed, leathery,
stalkless, pointed, 4.9 cm long, 1.8 cm broad, deep green on
the dorsal surface and light green on the ventral surface.
Spines (which, in fact, are modified leaves) are three-branched
and 1.5 cm long. Flowers, stalked, yellow, in simple to
corymbose raceme, with 11-16 flowers per cluster. The
average diameter of a fully opened flower is 12.5 mm. Six
yellow sepals (3 small, 3 large), with 6 petals, yellow, 4-5 mm
Medicinal uses: It is one of very important medicinal plants.
Almost every part of this plant has some medicinal value. A
bitter tonic antiperiodic and diaphoretic An infusion is used in
the treatment of malaria, eye complaints, skin diseases,
menorrhagia, diarrhoea and jaundice. Berberine, universally
present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked
antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by
the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric
infections, especially bacterial dysentery.
Identification credit: Nongthombam
Ulysses Photographed in Mussoorie.
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Common name: Chitrak, Plumbago, White leadwort • Hindi:
चक Chitrak • Assamese:   Boga agechita
• Manipuri: Telhidak angouba • Tamil: சித்திர மூலம்
chittiramoolam Karimai • Malayalam: Vellakoduveli • Kannada:
Chitramulika • Bengali: Safaid-sitarak • Oriya: Ogni
Botanical name: Plumbago
zeylanica Family: Plumbaginaceae (Plumbago family)

Chitrak is a herb that grows wild in India and has been used by
rural and tribal people for hundreds of years as a traditional
system of medicine. Chitrak is native to SE Asia. It is a much
branched, evergreen shrub that reaches about 6 feet in
nature. Dark green leaves are ovate to 6 inches long by half as
wide. They are fast growing plants, but their size is easily
controlled by pot size and pruning. The flowers are white in
showy dense racemes and will flower all year long. Individual
flowers are up to ½ inch (a bit more than 1 cm) across.
Chitrak needs full sun to partial shade with intermediate to
warm temperatures. After flowering, the plants should be cut
back to keep them growing vigorously. The fruits are like a
small cocklebur with glue on the soft spines and they will stick
to anything. The root and root bark and seeds are used
medicinally as a stimulant, caustic, digestion, antiseptic, anti-
parasitic. Chitrak is propagated by cuttings, division of older
plants or by seed.
Medicinal uses: Chitrak is used in treating intestinal troubles,
dysentery, leucoderma, inflammation, piles, bronchitis, itching,
diseases of the liver, and consumption. The leaves of this herb
work well for treating laryngitis, rheumatism, diseases of the
spleen, ring worm, scabies, and it acts as an aphrodisiac. A
tincture of the root bark is used as an anti-periodic. Chitrak
root helps improve digestion and it stimulates the appetite.
Chitrak root is also an acro-narcotic poison that can cause an
credit: Navendu Pagé, Photographed in Garden of Five Senses, Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Red Physic Nut, wild castor, wild croton, wild
sultan seed • Hindi: दती danti • Marathi: दं ती danti, कातर katari
• Tamil: ேபயாமணக்கு pey-amanakku •Malayalam:
n ceriyadanthi, 
n naagadanthi • Telugu:
  adavi amudamu, 
  kond amudamu,
 nela jidi,  nepalamu • Kannada: ದ damti, ಾಡು
ಹರಳ kaadu haralu, ಾಗದ naagadamti •Bengali: n danti,
n dantigaacha • Oriya: e   • Konkani:
baktumbo •Sanskrit: दती danti, दितका dantika, द घ dirgha,
एरडपका erandhapatrika, एरडफला erandhaphala, मकलकः

makulakah, नागदती nagadanti, नागवना nagavinna, नकभः

nikumbha, !य#$ेणी pratyaksreni, रे चनी rechani, ()ा ruksha,
शी+ा shigra, वश,य vishalya, उडबरपण/
ु udumbaraparni • Nepali:
अजय पाल Ajaya pal, दधे
ु झार Dudhe Jhaar
Botanical name: Baliospermum
montanum Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Baliospermum axillare, Baliospermum
solanifolium, Jatropha montana

Red Physic Nut is a stout undershrub, 10 cm to 8 m in height

with herbaceous branches from the roots. Leaves are simple,
toothed with undulations. Upper leaves are small, lower ones
large, sometimes palmately 3-5 lobed, 3-30 cm long, 1.5-15
cm broad. Male and female flowers are separated, seen in the
same flowering branch, minute, about 3 mm across, greenish
yellow, arranged in axillary and terminal racemes, spikes or
fascicles. Capsules are distinctly 3-lobed, obovoid, stony, 8-13
mm across, minutely densely pubescent. Seeds are egg-
Medicinal uses: Roots, seeds, leaves and seed oil are used to
treat jaundice, constipation, piles, anemia, conjuctivitis. The
roots are purgative, anthelmintic, carminative, rubefacient and
anodyne. Used in abdominal pain, constipation, calculus,
general anasarca, piles, helminthic infestation, scabies and
skin disorders. Root paste is applied to painful swellings and
piles. The leaves relieve asthma and seeds are used to cure
credit: N. S. Photographed at Yeoor Hills, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Fiji Arrowroot, batflower, East Indian
arrowroot, Polynesian arrowroot, Tahiti arrowroot • Hindi: बाघ
ू Bagh-moochh, दे वक द devkanda • Marathi: दे वकंद devkanda
• Tamil: ேசைன cenai, ககனம் kakanam, காறாக்கருைண
kattu-k-karunai • Telugu:  adavidumpa
Botanical name: Tacca
leontopetaloides Family: Taccaceae (Bat Flower family)
Synonyms: Tacca hawaiiensis, Tacca involucrata, Tacca

Fiji Arrowroot is a perennial herb naturally distributed from

western Africa through southeast Asia to northern Australia.
The leaf's upper surface has depressed veins, and the under
surface is shiny with bold yellow veins. Greenish purple flowers
are borne on tall stalks in clusters, with long trailing whisker-
like bracts. The plant is usually dormant for part of the year
and dies down to the ground. Later, new leaves will arise from
the round underground tuber. The tubers are hard and potato-
like, with a brown skin and white interior. The tubers of
Polynesian arrowroot contain starch that was an important
food source for many Pacific Island cultures, primarily for the
inhabitants of low islands and atolls. Polynesian arrowroot was
prepared into a flour to make a variety of puddings.
Medicinal uses: In traditional Hawaiian medicine the raw
tubers were eaten to treat stomach ailments. Mixed with water
and red clay, the plant was consumed to treat diarrhea and
dysentery. This combination was also used to stop internal
hemorrhaging in the stomach and colon and applied to wounds
to stop bleeding.
Identification credit: Dinesh
Valke Photographed at Saphale Ghat, Maharashtra.
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Common name: Fire Flame Bush, Red Bell Bush • Hindi:
Dhawai • Marathi: Dowari •Tamil: Velakkai • Malayalam:
Tatiripuspi • Telugu: Jargi seringi, Godari • Kannada:
Tamrapuspi • Oriya: Dhobo • Konkani: Dhauri • Urdu: Jetiko
• Gujarati: Dhawani •Sanskrit: Parvati, Bahupuspika
Botanical name: Woodfordia
fruticosa Family: Lythraceae (Crape Myrtle family)
Synonyms: Woodfordia floribunda

Fire Flame Bush is a spreading, leafy shrub, small in size but

very conspicuous on dry, rocky hillsides from December to
May, when the masses of little fiery bells give a bright touch of
colour to the drab terrain. It is common in Sri Lanka, South
Konkan and on the Ghats and ascends the Himalayas to 1500
m, but is rarer in South India. It is a deciduous shrub, usually
with a much-fluted stem. The grey bark is exceedingly thin and
peels off in flakes. When in flower the bush appears twiggy
and formless but entirely swathed in red. This is because the
small flowers grow singly or in groups all the way along the
branches and side twigs, and it is at this time that the leaves
fall. Each flower, borne on a tiny stem, is a slender tube,
slightly curved, the greenish base of which is the sepal.
Swelling slightly, the tube divides into narrow, pointed lobes
and from within emerges a bunch of long stamens. The whole
length, including the stamens, is not more than 2 cm. The fruit
is a small, oblong capsule, covered by the withered sepals. The
narrow, pointed leaves grow straight from the branches, either
opposite or in whorls of three. They are harsh and dull, dark
green in colour, but paler underneath. Sometimes they are
dotted beneath with small, black glands. From the flowers,
which contain much tannin, a red dye is obtained which is used
to dye silks. The leaves also contain a large proportion of
tannin and make the commonest tan in India.
Medicinal uses: This is a drug largely used in native
medicine. This enters into the composition of many
preparations, decoctions, churnas and ghritas for various
diseases, but chiefly dysentery and diarrhoea by reason of its
being highly astringent.
Photographed in Mussoorie.
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Common name: Gaub, Indian persimmon • Hindi: गाब Gaab
• Tamil: தும்பிகா Tumbika • Marathi: Temburi • Malayalam:
Panancca • Telugu: Bandadamara • Kannada: Holitupare
Botanical name: Diospyros
malabarica Family: Ebenaceae (ebony family)
Synonyms: Garcinia malabarica, Diospyros peregrina

Gab is an evergreen tree with a spreading crown. It can grow

up to 37 m tall, with a trunk girth of 2 m. The bark is black,
smooth, and the inner bark turns bluish on exposure to
sunlight. Leaves are oblong and glossy. The male flowers are
formed in 3-5 flowered cymes in leaf axils. Female flowers are
solitary, 4-parted, with 4 styles, and an 8-celled ovary. Fruits
are round, up to 3.5 cm in diameter, and seated on a
persistent sepal structure. The fruit is green, tinted red.
Medicinal uses: Gab is the Tinduka of Sanskrit writers; its
bark is described in the Nighantas as a good application to
boils and tumours, and the juice of the fresh bark as useful in
bilious fever. The fruit when unripe is said to be cold.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Puncture Vine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine,
Goathead, Gokharu गोख (Hindi), Gokhru (Urdu), Gokhru
kanta (Bengali), Cinnpalleru (Telugu), பல்ேலரு முள்ளு
palleru-mullu (Tamil), Nerinnii (Malayalam)
Botanical name: Tribulus
terrestris Family: Zygophyllaceae (caltrop family)

This is an obnoxious weed whose seeds are incredibly painful

to step on, they easilly puncture your bicycle tires, and
sometimes have to be pulled out of your pets' paws. It is a
taprooted herbaceous perennial plant that grows as a summer
annual in colder climates. The stems radiate from the crown to
a diameter of about 10 cm to over 1 m, often branching. They
are usually prostrate, forming flat patches, though they may
grow more upwards in shade or among taller plants. The
leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets less than a
quarter-inch long. The flowers are 4-10 mm wide, with five
lemon-yellow petals. A week after each flower blooms, it is
followed by a fruit that easily falls apart into four or five single-
seeded nutlets. The nutlets or "seeds" are hard and bear two
sharp spines, 10 mm long and 4-6 mm broad point-to-point.
These nutlets strikingly resemble goats' or bulls' heads; the
"horns" are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tyres and to
cause considerable pain to unshod feet.
Medicinal uses: Tribulus is mentioned in ancient Indian
Ayurvedic medical texts dating back thousands of years.
Tribulus has been widely used in the Ayurvedic system of
medicine for the treatment of sexual dysfunction and various
urinary disorders. The Greeks used Tribulus Terrestris as a
diuretic. In China and Vietnam it has been used in the
treatment of post-partum hemorrhage, epistaxis and gastro
intestinal bleeding. Tribulus terrestris is being promoted as a
testosterone booster for the purpose of building muscle and
increasing sex drive. It does not work like DHEA and
androstenedione 100, which are progenitors of testosterone.
Instead, claims have been made that it enhances testosterone
levels by increasing
luteinizing hormone levels. Photographed in the Garden of Five Senses, Delhi
Identification credit: Thingnam Sophia
ative Photo: Pravin Kawale

Common name: Marsh Barbel • Hindi: Gokula kanta

• Marathi: तालम ख़ाना Talim Khana • Tamil: Nirumuli
• Malayalam: Voyal-chullai • Telugu: Kokilakshi • Kannada:
Kalavankabija • Bengali: Shulamardan • Konkani: Kalaso
• Sanskrit: को
कला Kokilaksha, Shrinkhali
Botanical name: Hygrophila
schulli Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)
Synonyms: Hygrophila auriculata

Marsh Barbel is a stout aquatic perennial herb, 1-2 m high.

Erect unbranched stems are hairy near swollen nodes. Densely
hairy, lance-like, stalkless leaves, 10-15 cm long, occur in
whorls of 6 at each node on the stem. Straight, yellow, 4 cm
long spines are present in the axil of each leaf. Flowers occur
in 4 pairs at each node. The 3 cm long purple-blue flowers are
2-lipped - the upper lip is 2-lobed and the lower one 3-lobed
with lengthwise folds. Flowers open in opposite pairs.
Flowering: October-April.
Medicinal uses: Kokilaksha, as it is known in sanskrit, was
extensively used in Ayurvedic system of medicine for various
ailments like rheumatism, inflammation, jaundice, hepatic
obstruction, pain, etc.
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: East Indian Globe Thistle, Indian

sphaeranthus • Hindi: Chhagul-nudi, गोरखमंड
ु ी Gorakhmundi
• Marathi: गोरखमंड
ु ी Gorakhmundi • Tamil: Visnukkarantai
•Malayalam:  Mirangani, Adakkamanian • Telugu:
Boddatarapu • Kannada: ಮುಂೕ Mundi • Bengali: 
Murmuriya • Urdu: Kamdaryus • Gujarati: ગોરખ ુ ંડ
Gorakhmundi • Sanskrit: महामंड
ु ी Mahamundi, तपिवनी
Tapasvini, Palankasha
Botanical name: Sphaeranthus
indicus Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

East Indian globe thistle is a much branched, strongly-scented

annual herb with winged stem and the wings toothed.
Alternately arranged obovate-oblong leaves are narrowed at
the base, dentate and serrate, 1-3 cm long. Flowers occur in
purple spherical heads, 8-15 mm, consisting of numerous tiny
flowers. Flowers are purple and the stamens pale-purple.
Flowering: October-January.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, this herb is hot,
laxative, digestible, tonic, fattening, alterative, anthelmintic
and alexipharmic. It is used in insanity, tuberculosis,
indigestion, bronchitis, spleen diseases, elephantiasis,
anaemia, pain in uterus and vagina, piles, asthma,
leucoderma, dysentery, vomiting, hemicrania, etc.
Identification credit: Prashant
Awale Photographed in Aarav village, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Mountain Knot Grass • Hindi: छाया Chhaya,


ू gorakhbuti, गोरखगांजा gorakhganja, कपर

ू kapurijadi,
khali, खर
khari • Marathi: कापरमा
ू धर

ु kapurmadhuri • Tamil:
சிறுபூைள ciru-pulai, உழிைஞ ulinai • Malayalam: 
cherula • Telugu:   pindidonda • Kannada:   ೊಪ

bili himdi soppu •Bengali:  chaya • Rajasthani: भई

ू bhui
• Konkani: तांडलो tamdlo • Punjabi: bui-kaltan •Sanskrit:
अमःभेदः ashmahabhedah, भ bhadra, गोर ग!जा gorakshaganja,
पाषाणभेद pashanabheda, शतकभेद
Botanical name: Aerva
lanata Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Aerva elegans, Illecebrum lanatum, Achyranthes
Mountain Knot Grass is a perennial herb, occasionally woody
below, prostrate to erect, 0.3-2 m, branched from the base
and often also from above. Stem and branches are densely
woolly with whitish or yellowish, shaggy hairs. Alternately
arrange leaves are nearly circular to lanceshaped-elliptic,
wedge-shaped at the base, rounded to sharp at the tip. Leaves
are usually densely woolly on the lower surface and more
thinly so above. Leaves on the main stem are 1-5 cm long,
0.5-3.5 cm wide, those of the branches and upper part of the
stem are smaller. Leaf stalks are up to 2 cm. Flower spikes are
stalkless, solitary or usually in clusters in leaf axils, 0.4-1.5 cm
long, 3-4 mm wide, divergent, cylindrical, silky white to
creamy, forming a long inflorescence leafy to the ultimate
Medicinal uses: This herb is described as one of the best
known remedies for bladder and kidney stones. Ayurvedic
practitioners recommend a decoction of the plant to be taken
internally for a few days to dissolves the stone and to clear the
urinary path.
Identification credit: Dinesh
Valke Photographed at Vaghbil, Thane, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Shaista Ahmad

Common name: Gurmar • Hindi: छॊटा दधीलता

ू chhota-
dudhilata, गढ़मार
ु gudmar, गरमार
ु ं medhashingi,
gurmar, मॆढ़शगी
• Marathi: kavali, bedaki, bedakuli, kalikardori, kaoli •Tamil:
adigam, amudupushpam, ayagam, kogilam • Malayalam:
chakkarakkolli, madhunasini • Telugu: bodaparta, podapatra
• Kannada: kadhasige, sannagera, sannagerasehambu
• Oriya: meshasringi • Urdu: gurmar‫گرمــار‬, gurmar booti,
gurmar patta • Sanskrit: ajaballi, अजगंधनी ajaghandini, कणका
karnika, kshinavartta, मधनसनी
ु madhunasini
Botanical name: Gymnema
sylvestre Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)

Gurmar is a famed plant, revered for its use in treatment of

diabetes for nearly two millennia. The Hindi
name Gurmar actually means diabetes killer. It is a large
climber, rooting at nodes. Leaves are elliptic, narrow tipped,
base narrow. Leaves are smooth above, and sparsely or
densely velvety beneath. Pale yellow flowers are small, in
axillary and lateral umbel like cymes. Stalk of the umbel is
long. Sepals are long, ovate, obtuse, velvety. Flowers are pale
yellow, bell-shaped. Corona is single, with 5 fleshy scales.
Medicinal uses: One of the alternative medicines to both
diabetes and obesity could be Gurmar plant preparation, as it
known to have a good effect for curbing of diabetes by
blocking sugar binding sites and hence not allowing the sugar
molecules to accumulate in the body.
Identification credit: Navendu
Pāgé Photographed at I.I.Sc. campus, Bangalore.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Chamber Bitter, Common leaf-flower,
Shatterstone, Stone-breaker Herb • Hindi: हजारमणी hajarmani,
लाल भ
ु वला lal bhuinanwalah • Manipuri:  k chakpa-
heikru • Marathi: लाल भईआवळी
ु laal bhooyiavali • Tamil: சிவப்பு
கீ ழாெநல்லி civappu kilanelli, சிறு கீ ழாெநல்லி cirukilanelli
• Malayalam: 
 chukannakizhanelli • Telugu:  к
usirika • Kannada: ೆಮು ರುೆ
kempu kirunelli, ೆಮು ೆಲೆ

kempu nelanelli • Bengali: Hazarmani • Sanskrit: भयामलक

bhumyamalaki, उझटा ujjhata • Nepali: खनतड kanthad
Botanical name: Phyllanthus
urinaria Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Phyllanthus leprocarpus

Chamber bitter is a small annual herb growing up to 2 ft tall.

Leaves are alternately arranged along the erect, red stem,
resembling those of the mimosa tree, disposed in two ranges.
However, the leaves are not compound, but simple. The leaves
are oblong or oblong-obovate, 7-18 mm long, 3-7 mm wide,
rounded with a sharp point., obliquely rounded at base, nearly
stalkless, pale beneath. The leaves are large at the tip and
smaller towards the petiole. When touched, the leaves fold in
automatically. Flowers are greenish white, minute and appear
at axiles of the leaves, as well as the seed capsules. Numerous
small green-red fruits, round and smooth, are found along the
underside of the stems.
Medicinal uses: It is used against colic, and as an effective
remedy to eliminate gall - and kidney stones, urinary tract
infection, bladder inflammation and for other kidney and liver
problems in general such as acute - and chronic hepatitis B,
which explains the origin of its species name urinaria.
credit: Dinesh Photographed at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Turmeric • Assamese: , Halodhi
• Bengali:  Halud • Gujarati: હળદર Haldar • Hindi: हद Haldi
• Kannada: Arishina, Arisina • Malayalam: , Manjal
• Marathi: हळद Halad • Nepali: हद Haldi • Oriya: Haladi
• Sanskrit: Haridra, Marmarii • Tamil: மஞ்சள் Manjal
• Telugu: , Haridra • Urdu: Haldi, ‫یہلـــد‬
Botanical name: Curcuma
longa Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

Turmeric is a rhizomatous herb, native to tropical South Asia.

Turmeric is a very important spice in India, which produces
nearly the whole world’s crop and uses 80% of it. The plant
grows to a height of 3-5 ft. It has oblong, pointed leaves and
bears funnel-shaped yellow flowers, peeping out of large
bracts. The rhizome is the portion of the plant used
medicinally. It is usually boiled, cleaned, and dried, yielding a
yellow powder. Dried Turmeric root is the source of the spice
turmeric, the ingredient that gives curry powder its
characteristic yellow color. Turmeric is used extensively in
foods for both its flavor and color. Turmeric has a long
tradition of use in the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of
Identification credit: Thingnam
Sophia Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
<<< Back

ative Photo: Pravin Kawale

Common name: Chebulic Myrobalan, Myrobalan • Hindi: हरा

Harra, हरड़ Harad •Manipuri:  Manahi • Marathi: Hirad
• Tamil: kaDukkaay • Malayalam: Katukka •Telugu:
Nallakaraka • Kannada: Halle • Bengali: Haritaki • Oriya:
Karedha • Konkani: Ordo • Assamese: Hilika • Sanskrit:
Kayastha, Jivapriya
Botanical name: Terminalia
chebula Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)

Chebulic Myrobalan is a flowering evergreen tree called in

English the Myrobalan or sometimes the Chebulic Myrobalan. It
is native to the Indian subcontinent and the adjacent areas
such as Pakistan, Nepal and the south-west of China stretching
as far south as Kerala or even Sri Lanka where is called Aralu.
This tree yields smallish, ribbed and nut-like fruits which are
picked up when still green and then pickled, boiled with a little
added sugar in their own syrup or used in preserves or
concotions. The seed of the fruit, which has an eliptical shape,
is an abrasive pit enveloped by a fleshy and firm pulp. Chebulic
Myrobalan can reach heights of 20 meters.
Medicinal uses: Chebulic Myrobalan is highly regarded as the
'king of medicines' in the Ayur-Vedic Medicine. It is reputed to
cure blindness and it is believed to inhibit the growth of the
malignant tumours. It is allegedly also a powerful detox agent.
Identification credit: Pravin
Kawale Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Pithraj Tree • Hindi: हरनहरा Harin-hara,
Harinkhana • Manipuri:  Heirangkhoi • Marathi:
Raktharohida • Tamil: malampuluvan, sem, semmaram
•Malayalam: Chemmaram, sem • Telugu: Chevamanu,
Rohitaka • Kannada: mukhyamuttage, mullumuttaga,
mulluhitthalu, roheethaka • Bengali: Tiktaraj • Kuki: Sahala
• Khasi: Dieng rata • Rongmei: Agan • Assamese: hakhori
bakhori • Sanskrit: anavallabha, ksharayogya, lakshmi,
lakshmivana, lohita
Botanical name: Aphanamixis
polystachya Family: Meliaceae (Neem family)
Synonyms: Aglaia polystachya, Amoora rohituka, Andersonia

Pithraj Tree is a deciduous tree native to India, growing to 20-

30 m tall. Leaves are odd- or even- pinnate, 30-60 cm long,
with 9-21 leaflets. Leaflets are oblong-elliptic, elliptic, or ovate,
17-26 × 4-10 cm with basal pair smallest, leathery when
mature, with visible transparent tiny spots under sunlight.
Base of the leaflets is oblique, margin entire. Flower clusters
occur in leaf axils, less than a foot long. Flowers are 6-7 mm in
diameter, with 3 bracteoles. Flowers have 5 nearly curcular
sepals, 1-1.5 mm across. Petals are 3-7 mm in diameter,
concave. Staminal tube is spherical, smooth. Anthers are 5 or
6, oblong. Capsule is sort of ovoid, 2-2.5 × 2.5-3 cm, orangish
when mature. Seeds are greyish brown. Flowering: May-
Medicinal uses: Bark is used in spleen, liver diseases, tumour
and abdominal complaints. Seed-oil is used in rheumatism.
cation Photographed in Lal Bagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore and Sundar Nursery, Delhi.
credit: Navendu Pāgé
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Cursed Buttercup, Poisonous buttercup,
Celery-leaved buttercup, Blister buttercup • Hindi: Shim,
Aglaon, जलधनया Jaldhaniya • Manipuri: Lalukaoba •Marathi:
khajakollathi, Kulagi • Nepali: नाककोरे Nakkore • Sanskrit:
Kandakatuka, Kandira, नससंवेदना Nasasamvedana
Botanical name: Ranunculus
sceleratus Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)
Synonyms: Ranunculus indicus, Ranunculus umbellatus

Cursed Buttercup is a fast growing annual herb which produces

a multitude of small yellow flowers. The flowers have three to
five yellow petals 2-5 × 1-3 mm and reflexed sepals as long as
petals. The leaves have small blades each deeply lobed or
divided into usually three leaflets, and look like coriander
leaves. They are borne on long stalks. The fruits arise in heads
5-13 × 3-7 mm and make the plant easy to identify. Cursed
Buttercup is a very poisonous plants. Bruised and applied to
the skin, it raises a blister and creates a sore which is by no
means easy to heal. When chewed, it inflames the tongue and
produces violent effects. Cursed Buttercupis found at altitudes
up to 1700 m in Europe, C. Asia, Himalayas, N. India, Siberia,
Mongolia, China, Japan, N. America. Flowering: February-
Medicinal uses: When made into a tincture, given in small
diluted doses, it proves curative of stitch in the side and
neuralgic pains between the ribs.
Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Brahmi, Water Hyssop, Indian pennywort
• Assamese: Brahmi •Bengali: Brahmi-sak • Gujarati:
Jalanevari • Hindi: ामी Brahmi • Kannada: Brahmi,
Jalabrahmi • Manipuri: Brahmi-sak • Marathi: Brahmi • Nepali:
मेधा गर Medha giree •Sanskrit: brahmi, gundala, indravalli,
jalasaya • Tamil: நப்pராமி Nirbrahmi • Telugu: Sambrani
chettu, Neeri sambraani mokka
Botanical name: Bacopa
monnieri Family: Scrophulariaceae (Dog flower family)
Synonyms: Bramia indica, Bacopa monnieria, Herpestis

Brahmi is a perennial, creeping herb whose habitat includes

wetlands and muddy shores. The leaves of this plant are
succulent and relatively thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are
arranged oppositely on the stem. Small flowers are borne in
leaf axils. Flower stalk is 0.5-3.5 cm long. Bracteoles are 2,
linear, below calyx. Sepals are 5, about 5 mm. Lower and
upper sepals are ovate-lanceolate, lateral 2 sepals are
lanceshaped to linear. Flowers are blue, purple, or white, 8-10
mm, obscurely 2-lipped. Capsule are narrowly ovoid,
enveloped in persistent sepal-cup, tip pointed. Seeds are
yellow-brown, ellipsoid, truncate at one end, longitudinally
channeled. Flowering: May-October.
Medicinal uses: Famed in Ayurvedic medicine, brahmi has
antioxidant properties. It has been reported to reduce
oxidation of fats in the blood stream, which is a risk factor for
cardiovascular diseases. It has been used for centuries to help
benefit epilepsy, memory capacity, increase concentration, and
reduce stress-induced anxiety. It is listed as a nootropic, a
drug that enhances cognitive ability. According to Ayurveda, it
is bitter, pungent, heating, emetic, laxative and useful in bad
ulcers, tumours, ascites, enlargement of spleen, indigestion,
inflammations, leprosy, anaemia, biliousness etc. According to
Unani system of medicine, it is bitter, aphrodisiac, good in
scabies, leucoderma, syphilis etc. It is promising blood purifier
and useful in diarrhea and fevers.
Identification credit: Navendu
Pāgé Photographed in Delhi and Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Frog Fruit, Turkey tangle, Creeping Lip Plant,
Lippia • Hindi: जल बट
ू Jal buti, Jalpapli • Manipuri: Chinglengbi
• Marathi: Jalapimpali • Tamil: Podutalei •Malayalam:
Nirtippali • Telugu: Bokkena • Kannada: Nelahippali • Konkani:
Botanical name: Phyla
nodiflora Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)

Frog Fruit is a flowering, broadleaf plant native to South

America. It is grows in a groundcover or turflike manner, and
is often present in yards. The inflorescence consists of a
purple-coloured centre encircled by small white-to-pink
flowers. The flower takes on a match-like look, which is why
the plant is called matchweed. The leaf arrangement is
opposite. Each leaf has one to seven teeth on each edge
starting at the widest point and continuing to the tip.
Medicinal uses: Plant decoction is given in uraema. Fresh
juice is applied to bleeding gums. Infusion of leaves and tender
stalk is given to children in indigestion and to women after
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Long Leaved Alyce Clover • Hindi: जंगल
गैलया Jangali gailia, गबल
ु Gubal • Marathi: शेवरा Shevra, Motha
dampta • Telugu: Peddakandikaraku
Botanical name: Alysicarpus
longifolius Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Hedysarum longifolium

Long Leaved Alyce Clover is an erect herb 1.2-1.5 m tall.

Leaves unifoliolate; stalks 3-10 mm long, leaflets 5-15 X 1-2
cm, oblong or lanceolate, base heart-shaped. Inflorescence is
a dense raceme, 15-30 cm long. Bracts often longer than 1.3
cm, ovate, pointed. Flowers 1 cm, in pairs, blooming from the
base of the spike upwards. "Standard" petal is yellow flushed
with red. Wing and keel are dark pink. Pods 1 cm, 4-6 jointed.
It is distributed in Saurashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bombay,
Madras. Flowering: September.
Identification credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed in Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Wild turmeric, Aromatic turmeric • Hindi:
Jangli haldi जंगल हळी •Manipuri:   Lam Yaingang
• Gujarati: Zedoari • Tamil: கஸ்தூதி மஞ்ஜள் Kasturimanjal
• Malayalam: Kattumanna • Telugu: Kasthuri Pasupa
• Kannada: Kasthuri Arishina
Botanical name: Curcuma
aromatica Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

Wild tumeric is an aromatic and pretty ginger with stout

underground rhizomes. Foliage dies down in late in autumn
and the rhizomes remain dormant in winter. The inflorescence
appears in early spring from the base of the rhizome. Flowers
are pinkish white in color, with an orange lip. The stalk grows
to about 8 to 10 inches tall, and is crowned with enlarged
colored bracts tipped with pink. Leaves appear after the
flowers. When in full growth the plants can reach a height of
about 3ft tall. Leaves are broad and very decorative, elliptic, 3-
4 ft long, and 20 cm wide, leaf-stalk being as long as the
blade. Good for cut-flower use with a vase life of about 10
days for a fresh stem. This species is found in the eastern
Himalayas and inhabits warm forest areas. Grows fast and
vigorously during the summer monsoon months. Rhizomes
used to a limited extent in villages for flavouring curries.
Medicinal uses: Wild turmeric is recognized as a medical herb
with strong antibiotic properties. It is believed to play a role in
preventing and curing cancer in chinese medicine. In an effort
to remove cell accumulations such as a tumors, curcuma is
often utilized. There are two species commonly used in cancer
therapy that, like ginger, have a spicy taste.It contains
aromatic volatile oils that help to remove excessive lipids from
the blood, reduce aggregation of platelets (sticking of the
blood cells to form masses), and reduce
inflammation. Photographed in Manipur
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Kiran Srivastava

Common name: Goat weed, Billy goat weed, Tropical

whiteweed • Hindi: जंगल पदना
ु Jangli pudina, Visadodi,
Semandulu, Gha buti, Bhakumbar • Manipuri: я 

Khongjai napi • Marathi: Ghanera osaadi • Kannada: Oorala

gida, Helukasa • Tamil: Pumppillu, Appakkoti • Malayalam:
Kattappa, Muriyan pacca • Bengali: Uchunti •Sanskrit:
Botanical name: Ageratum
conyzoides Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Goat weed is a common tropical annual herbaceous weed. It is

an erect softly hairy annual plant which grows up to a height of
2.5 feet. Oppositely arranged leaves are ovate to lance-like,
coarsely rounded, and have toothed margin. Numerous pale
blue or whitish flowerheads are 6 mm across, often forming
dense domed to flat-topped clusters in leaf axils or end of
branches. Flowers most of the year. The stem is often red and
has long white hairs. The weak aromatic unpleasant smelling
leaves are also covered with fine hair. The dark seeds have
scales and ends in a needle-like shape. In alternative
medicine, ageratum is used against epilepsy and wounds, also
used as an insect repellent.
Photographed in Binsar, Uttarakhand.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Pride of India, Queen Crape Myrtle • Hindi:
Jarul जल • Manipuri: Jarol • Tamil: கதலி Kadali • Marathi:
Botanical name: Lagerstroemia
speciosa Family: Lythraceae (Crape Myrtle family)

This tropical flowering tree is one of the most

outstanding summer bloomers. Lagerstroemia
speciosa is a larger form of the more commonly
grown L. indica (Crape myrtle.) It is called Queen
Crape Myrtle because it's the Queen of the Crape
Myrtles, dominating with grand size and larger,
crinkled flowers. The name Crape myrtle is given to
these tree/shrubs because of the flowers which look as if made
from delicate crape paper. Lagerstroemia speciosa is a large
tree growing up to 50' but it can be kept smaller by trimming.
It stands on an attractive, spotted bark that often peels. This
bark is commercially used and is a valuable timber. The large
leaves are also appealing as they turn red right before they
drop in the winter. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian
Postal Department to commemorate this flower.
Medicinal uses: Seeds are narcotic; bark and leaves are
purgative; roots areastringent, stimulant and febrifuge (fever
removing) In Manipur, the fruit is used as local application for
apathe of the mouth. Decoction of dried leaves is used in
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Showy Desmodium • Assamese: Ursi
• Hindi: Jatsalpan • Kannada: Jenukaddi, Kadumuduru,
Kadunhuralite • Malayalam: Kattumutira, Katumudura • Oriya:
Salaparni • Sanskrit: Lodhrah, Lodram • Tamil: Vellalothi
• Telugu: Karrantinta, Kondontinta, Sarivi
Botanical name: Phyllodium
pulchellum Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Hedysarum pulchellum, Desmodium pulchellum,
Meibomia pulchella

Showy Desmodium is an erect undershrub, 0.5-1.5 m tall.

Leaves are 3-foliate. Leaflets are finely hairy beneath, the
middle one being oblong, 8-13 cm long and more than twice as
large as the lateral ones. Flowers are white and about 6 mm
long, hidden by large circular green bracts which are 1-1.5 cm
in diameter. Stamens are 10, upper one free, other 9 united.
Inflorescence is 8-25 cm long, and occurs in leaf axils and at
the end of branches. Pods are oblong, hairy and usually of 2,
rarely 1- or 3 jointed.
Medicinal uses: Showy Desmodium is used in folk medicine
in cold and fever, malaria, excessive menstrual flow. Leaves
are applied to ulcers. Decoction of bark is used for diarrhea,
eye afflictions. Decoction of flowers is used for bile and liver
afflictions. Flowering: September-October.
credit: J. M. Photographed in Narshapur forest near Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
Common name: Licorice, Liquorice, Sweetwood • Hindi: jethi-
madh, kubas-susa, mithilakdi • Kannada: atimadhura,
jestamaddu • Malayalam: atimadhuram, erattimadhuram
• Marathi: jashtimadh • Sanskrit: jalayashti, klitaka, madhu,
madhu-yashtikam • Tamil: adimaduram • Telugu:
athimathuram • Urdu: mulhatti, mulathi
Botanical name: Glycyrrhiza glabra Family: Fabaceae (Pea

The licorice plant is a perennial herb, growing up to 1 m in tall,

with pinnate leaves about 7-15 cm long, with 9-17 leaflets.
The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm long, purple to pale whitish blue,
produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod,
2-3 cm long, containing several seeds. The flavor of liquorice
comes mainly from a sweet-tasting compound called anethole,
an aromatic, unsaturated ether compound also found in anise,
fennel, and other herbs. Additional sweetness in liquorice
comes from glycyrrhizic acid, an anti-viral compound sweeter
than sugar. Liquorice flavouring is also used in soft drinks, and
in some herbal teas where it provides a sweet aftertaste. The
flavour is common in medicines to disguise unpleasant
Medicinal uses: Liquorice may be useful in conventional and
naturopathic medicine for both mouth ulcers and peptic ulcers.
In traditional Chinese medicine, liquorice is commonly used in
herbal formulae to "harmonize" the other ingredients in the
formula and to carry the formula to the twelve "regular
meridians" and to relieve a spasmodic cough.
Identification credit: Vijayasankar Raman
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Love-in-a-mist, Stinking passionflower
• Hindi: झमका
ु लता Jhumka lata • Bengali: Jhumka lota
• Marathi: वेल घाणी Vel-ghani • Kannada: Kukkiballi
• Malayalam: ), Poochapalam • Telugu: Tellajumiki
Botanical name: Passiflora
foetida Family: Passifloraceae (passion flower family)

Love-in-a-mist is a creeping vine which has an edible fruit and

leaves that have a mildly rank aroma. It is native to northern
South America and the West Indies. The stems are thin, wiry
and woody, covered with sticky yellow hairs. The leaves are
three- to five-lobed and viscid-hairy. They give off an
unpleasant odour when crushed. The flowers are white to pale
cream coloured, about 5-6 cm diameter. The fruit is globose,
2-3 cm diameter, yellowish-orange to red when ripe, and has
numerous black seeds embedded in the pulp; the fruit are
eaten and the seeds dispersed by birds. The bracts of this
plant serve as insect traps, but it is as yet unknown whether
the plant digests and gains nourishment from the trapped
insects or if it merely uses the bracts as a defensive
mechanism to protect its flowers and fruit. This is still an issue
of debate and research among carnivorous plant enthusiasts.
Medicinal uses: This species can be helpful in treating
digestive problems, including dyspepsia and diarrhea; or used
as an astringent and expectorant for nervous conditions and
Identification credit: V. Ashwini Photographed in Uran, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Jeevak • Hindi: जीवक Jivak • Tamil: ஜவகம்
Jivakam • Malayalam: я Jivakam • Telugu: к

Jivakamu • Kannada: ೕವಕ Jivaka • Sanskrit: जीवक Jivakah

Botanical name: Malaxis
acuminata Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Microstylis wallichii

Found in India, China, and South-East Asia, at elevations up to

to 1400 m, Jeevak is a small to medium sized, hot to warm
growing terrestrial or lithophytic orchid. It occurs on highly
eroded, stratified limestone cliffs and bluffs with horizontal
rhizomes giving rise to rather thin, short stems, each bearing
3-5 , broadly lance-like, acuminate and acute, leaves. The
plant blooms in summer on an erect, 4-12 inches long, several
to many flowered inflorescence with lanceolate acute floral
bracts. Flowers minute, pale-yellowish green, tinged with
purple, in terminal racemes. Sides of the lip produced upwards
into auricles, apex notched.
Medicinal uses: The pseudobulbs are sweet, refrigerant,
aphrodisiac, febrifuge and tonic. They are useful in
haematemesis, fever, seminal weakness, burning sensations,
dipsia, emaciation, tuberculosis and general debility.
Identification credit: Jagdeep Verma, Prince Thakur & K.
Photographed in Dhanaulti, Uttar Pradesh.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Hill Turmeric • Hindi: Kachura • Marathi:

रानहळद raan halada, शदळवान ं
shindalavana or शदळवानी
shindalavani • Tamil: Kattu manjal • Malayalam: Kattu manjal
Botanical name: Curcuma
pseudomontana Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

Hill Turmeric is an erect herb, growing to 75 cm tall, found on

moist, shaded areas of wet forests and along sluggish grassy
slopes of higher altitude. It has stout rootstock bearing small
almond like sub-globose tubers at the ends of the_fibrous
roots. The tubers are fleshy and white inside, aromatic. Leaves
3-5, oblong-lancelike, 20-30 x 6-9 cm, base acute, tip sharp,
margin entire, hairless; shiny; leaf stalk and the leaf sheath up
to 20 cm long. Flowering spikes seen in the center of the
previously formed tuft of leaves, 10-25 cm long, bearing
numerous compactly arranged flowers; flowering bracts
conspicuous, inverted eggshaped to lancelike, 3-5 x l.5-2,cm,
apex rounded to acute, hairless; gr,een with a pinktip. Non-
flowering bracts (coma) oblong-lancelike, conspicuous, purple
below and pinkish purple above. Flowers 2-4 in each fertile
bract, bright yellow, 3 cm long and 4 cm broad. Capsules
spherical, splitting by 3-valves, smooth. Seeds ovoid or
oblong, usually covered with arils. Flowering: June-
Medicinal uses: The Savara tribes in the Eastern Ghats of
Andhra Pradesh use tuber extracts to cure jaundice. Jatapu
and Kaya tribes apply warm tuber paste to treat body
swellings. Women of Jatapu and Savara tribes eat boiled
tubers to increase lactation. Khand tribes apply tuber paste on
the head for cooling effect.
Identification credit: Dinesh
Valke Photographed in Bangalore & Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Indrajao • Assamese: dhulkari, dudkhuri

• Bengali: kurchi, kя kutaja • Gujarati: કડવો ઇજવ kadavo
indrajav • Hindi: कडवा इंजव karva indrajau, कटज
ु kutaja
•Kannada: koodsaloo, korchie • Kashmiri: अ दसन
ु ु ् andusurun
ु kudo •Malayalam: p kutakappaala
• Konkani: कडॉ
• Marathi: इंजव indrajav, कटज
ु kutaja, पांढरा कडा
ु pandhra kuda
• Punjabi: keor, kewar • Oriya: kherwa, korwa, kurwa,
pitakorwa • Sanskrit: इंयव indrayava, कटज
ु kutaja,
sakraparyaaya, sakraasana, वसक vatsaka • Tamil:
கிrமல்லிைக kirimllikai, குடசப்பாைல kutaca-p-palai,
மைலமல்லிைக mlaimllikai • Telugu: 
  к girimallika,

 kodisepala, к kolamukku,   kondamalle,
кя kutajamu
Botanical name: Holarrhena
pubescens Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Holarrhena antidysenterica

Indrajao is a deciduous shrub or a small tree, growing up to 3

ms high. Short stem has pale bark and several branches.
Oppositely arranges, ovate, obtusely acuminate leaves are 10-
20 cm long. Leaf stalks are very short. White flowers appear in
corymb-like cymes, 5-15 cm across, at the end of branches.
Flowers have five white petals 2-3 cm long which turn
creamish yellow as they age. The flowers are beautiful with
oblong petals which are rounded at the tip, and remind one of
Medicinal uses: It is a medicinal plant in Ayurveda. One of its
botanical synonymsHolarrhena antidysenterica says it all. It is
one of the best drug for Diarrhoea. In chronic diarrhoea & to
check blood coming from stool,it should be given with Isobgol,
caster oil or Indrayav. According to Ayurveda, the bark is
useful in treatment of piles, skin diseases and biliousness. The
bark is used externally in case of skin troubles. The bark is
mostly mixed with cow urine and apply it in affected parts. In
treatment of urinary troubles, the bark is given with cow milk.
The fresh juice of bark is considered good to check the
diarrhoea. In Bleeding piles Decoction of Kutaj bark with sunthi
checks mucus & blood. Application of this herb is useful in Rh.
Arthritis & Oestioarthritis.
Identification credit: Dinesh Valke
Photographed in Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Curry Leaf • Hindi: Kari patta कर पता
• Marathi: Kudianim • Tamil: கrேவப்பிைல Karivepillai
• Malayalam: Kareapela • Telugu: karepaku, karepeku, kari-
vepa-chettu • Kannada: gandhabevu, kari-bevinagida
• Bengali: Barsunga • Oriya: lesunadando • Assamese:
Bishahari, Narasingha • Mizo: Arpatil • Sanskrit: Alakavhaya,
Chhardighna, ग
र न ब Girinimba, Kadarya
Botanical name: Bergera koenigii Family: Rutaceae (Citrus
Synonyms: Murraya koenigii, Chalcas koenigii

Curry Leaf tree is a small or medium sized tree, most famous

for its aromatic leaves that provide curry spice. Curry leaves
are extensively used in Southern India and Sri Lanka (and are
absolutely necessary for the authentic flavour), but are also of
some importance in Northern India. It is a small tree, growing
4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are
pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2
cm broad. They are highly aromatic. The flowers are small
white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible,
but their seeds are poisonous. Together with South Indian
immigrants, curry leaves reached Malaysia, South Africa and
Réunion island. When cooking, the leaves are generally used
fresh off of the tree. Outside the Indian sphere of influence,
they are rarely found. The yellow "curry powder" that is
common in Western countries is actually not curry at all, but a
mix of spices intended to mimic the true curry flavor. The
yellow color comes from turmeric root.
Medicinal uses: Leaves are digestive, tonic, stimulant, rich in
vitamin A and calcium. Leaves are also used for diarrhoea,
dysentry and checking vomitting. Bark-paste is antisceptic,
applied to skin eruptions. Root extract is taken for relief from
renal pain.
Photographed in Lodhi Garden, Delhi.
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Peristrophe, Magenta plant, Kakajangha

काकजघा (Hindi)
Botanical name: Peristrophe roxburghiana
Family: Acanthaceae (ruellia family)
Synonyms: Peristrophe tinctoria

This perennial plant is native to India, and is abundantly found

growing in places like Nainital. It is a herb growing up to 50
cm tall. The leaves are lanceolate to ovoid-acute, 2–7.5 cm
long and 1–3.5 cm wide. The flowers are two-lobed, the long
axis up to 5 cm long; they are magenta to reddish-violet.
Medicinal uses: The plant is used in traditional Chinese
Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh
Photographed in Nainital.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Indian Pavetta, Indian Pellet Shrub • Hindi:
Kankara, Kathachampa •Manipuri: kk  Kukurchura
• Marathi: Papat • Tamil: Kattukkaranai, Karanai •Malayalam:
Mallikamutti • Telugu: Papidi • Kannada: Pavati • Bengali: Jui
• Oriya: Paniphingi • Assamese: Sam-suku • Sanskrit:
Botanical name: Pavetta indica Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee
Synonyms: Pavetta crassicaulis

Indian Pavetta is an erect, nearly smooth or somewhat hairy

shrub 2 to 4 meters or more in height. The leaves are elliptic-
oblong to elliptic-lanceolate, 6-15 cm long, and pointed at both
ends. The flowers are white, rather fragrant, and borne in
considerable numbers in hairy terminal panicles which are 6-
10 cm long. The sepals are very small, and toothed. The
flower-tube is slender and about 1.5 cm long, with obtuse
petals about half the length of the tube. The flowers attract
butterflies and insects. The fruit is black when dry, somewhat
rounded, and about 6 mm in diameter.
Medicinal uses: The bark, in decoction, or pulverized, is
administered, especially to children, to correct visceral
obstructions. The decocted leaves are used externally to
alleviate the pains caused by haemorrhoids. The root,
pulverized and mixed with the ginger and rice-water, is given
in dropsy. A local fomentation with the leaves is useful in
relieving the pain of piles.
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale Photographed in Maharashtra
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Kakronda, Blumea • Hindi: जंगल मल

ू Jangli
Muli, ककर
दा Kakronda •Marathi: Bhamurda, बरंु डो Burando
• Tamil: Kattumullangi, Narakkarandai • Telugu: Advimulangi,
Karupogaku • Bengali: kk Kukurmuta, Kukursunga
• Gujarati: કોલહાર Kolhar, પીલો ક ૂ રયો Pilo Kapurio • Sanskrit:
ु ु ु Kukkuradru, कक
ु ंु दर Kukundara, द ु छड़ Mridu chhada,
ू Tamrachuda
Botanical name: Blumea
lacera Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Kakronda is an annual herb with a strong odor, distributed

throughout the plains of north-west India, up to an altitude of
2,000 m. The stems of this hairy or glandular herb are erect,
simple or branched, very leafy and 1-2 ft in height. The leaves
are obovate or oblanceolate, 5-12 cm long, 2-6 cm wide,
smaller toward the top, stalked, and toothed or (rarely)
lobulated at the margins. The bright yellow flowering heads
are about 8 mm across, borne on short axillary cymes, and
collected in terminal, spike-like panicles. The involucre-bracts
are narrow and hairy. The achenes are not ribbed, are
somewhat 4-angled, and are smooth.
Medicinal uses: Blumea is described by Ayurveda experts as
hot, pungent and bitter; antipyretic; good for bronchitis,
diseases of the blood, fevers, thirst and burning sensations.
The root kept in the mouth is said to cure disease of the
mouth. In the Konkan region of India, the plant is used to
drive away fleas and other insects. In Homoeopathic system, it
is given in enuresis, neuralgia, headache and cold borne
credit: Prashant Awale Photographed at Taleran, near Malshej Ghat, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Chinese Cucumber, Spiny bitter-cucumber,

ु Kakur, कंटोला Kantola,
Chinese bitter-cucumber •Hindi: ककर
ककरोल Kakrol • Manipuri:  Karot • Marathi: Gulkakra
• Malayalam: Kshudramalakasanda • Telugu: Varivalli
• Bengali:  Golkakra • Assamese: Bhat kerala
• Sanskrit: Katamala
Botanical name: Momordica
cochinchinensis Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)

Chinese cucumber is a traditional medicinal plant in India,

China and Vietnam, commonly seen growing in gardens with
its red fruit and red pulp. It is found throughout Asia and
Australia. It is used in cooking, to make candy and jam, and is
thought to support the health of the eyes. Aril, the red, oily
pulp surrounding the seeds, is cooked along with seeds to
flavor and give its red color to a rice dish, xoi gac, which is
served at festive occasions such as weddings in Vietnam. It
has large leaves and large white flowers.
Medicinal uses: Seeds are used in Ayurvedic and Chinese
traditional medicine. The total beta-carotene in this fruit is
very high.
Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh

Common name: Ironweed • Assamese: Chingkora • Hindi:

काला जीरा Kala jira, Bakchi, सोमराजी Somraji • Kannada: Kadu-
jirigay • Malayalam: Kattujirakam • Marathi: Kali-jiri, Kadu jire
• Oriya: Vakuci • Sanskrit: Atavi-jirakaha, अवलगज ु Avalguj
• Tamil: Kattu shiragam • Telugu: Davijilakara
Botanical name: Baccharoides
anthelmintica Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Conyza anthelmintica, Vernonia anthelmintica

Ironweed is large annual hern 60-100 cm tall. Stem is robust,

erect, leafy with velvety branches. Alternately arranged leaves,
5-8 cm long, are obovate to lanceshaped, with base narrowing
into the stalk. Flower-heads are borne at the end of branches
in 10-20 cm clusters. Flowers are tubular, 5-lobed. Seed pods
are 4-6 cm long, 10 ribbed, oblong. Flowering: October-
Medicinal uses: The seeds of Ironweed are of great repute in
Sanskrit Materia Medica as a medicine for white leprosy (leuco-
derma), and other skin diseases. It is mentioned also as an
anthelmintic, but is not much used as such, except in
combination with a number of other medicines.
Identification credit: Gurcharan
Singh Photographed in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh.
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Common name: Black-Honey Shrub, black-berried featherfoil,
potato-bush, netted-leaved leaf-flower • Assamese: m
amlakhi • Bengali: panjuli • Gujarati: કંબોઈ kamboi •Hindi: काले
मधु का पेड़ Kale madhu ka per, माषी Makhi, Panjuli • Kannada:
ಕಹು karihuli •Konkani: पानपोय panpoi • Malayalam: 
nirnelli • Marathi: पाणजळी
ु panjuli, पानपोई panpoi, पवार pavari
• Oriya: bala datun, bonoti-hudi, jandaki, jojangi, phajoli
•Sanskrit: कषृ ्ण काबोजी krishna-kamboji • Tamil: சிவப்புப்பூலா
civappu-p-pula, கருெநல்லி karu-nelli, காட்டுக்கீ ழாெநல்லி
kattu-k-kila-nelli, பூலா pula • Telugu:   nallapuli
Botanical name: Phyllanthus
reticulatus Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Kirganelia reticulata, Anisonema reticulatum,
Cicca reticulata, Diasperus reticulatus
Black-Honey Shrub is usually a much-branched somewhat
climbing shrub, rarely a small tree. Leaves are ovate-oblong to
elliptic, 1-5 cm long, 0.7-3 cm wide, produced on short lateral
branchlets, looking like leaflets of a compound leaf. Flowers
are borne in clusters on short axillary branchlets, small,
yellowish, sexes separate on the same plant, flowering before
or with the new leaves. The flowering shoots and pedicels are
covered in short, velvety hairs. Fruit is berry-like, 4-6 mm
across, blackish when ripe. Flowering: March-July.
Medicinal uses: The leaves and roots are used as medicine
for the fractures and traumatic injury
credit: Stephen A Photographed at Nirlon Knowledge Park, Mumbai.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Black Turmeric • Hindi: काल हद Kali Haldi,
Nar Kachura, कण
ृ केदार Krishna kedar • Manipuri:  a
Yaingang Amuba • Marathi: काला हद Kala-haldi •Telugu: Nalla
Pasupu, Manupasupu • Kannada: kariarishina, naru kachora
• Bengali: Kala haldi • Mizo: Aihang, Ailaihang • Assamese:
kala haladhi • Nepali: कालो हलेदो Kaalo haledo
Botanical name: Curcuma
caesia Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

Black Turmeric is a perennial herb with bluish-black rhizome,

native to North-East and Central India. The leaves have a deep
violet-red patch which runs through the length of the lamina.
Usually, the upper side of the leaf is rough, velvety, but this
character may vary. Flowering bracts are green with a
ferruginous tinge. Flower petals may be deep pink or red in
color. The rhizome is bitter, hot taste with pungent smell.
Black Turmeric is used in Tantrik Sadhana. The dried leaves
are used as a source for fuel. Northern tribes use Black
Turmeric as a talisman to keep the evil spirits away. Presently
Black Turmeric is on the verge of extinction.
Medicinal uses: Claimed to be useful in treating Piles,
Leprosy, Bronchitis, Asthma, Cancer, Epilepsy, Fever, Wounds,
Impotency, Fertility, Menstrual disorders, tooth ache, vomiting
Identification credit: Ramesh Raju
Photographed in Andhra Pradesh.
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Common name: Golden Eye Grass, Orchid palm grass
• Hindi: Kali musli काल मसल
ु •Oriya: Tala-muli • Kannada:
Nela tengu • Malayalam: Nelppana • Tamil:
நிலப்பைனக்கிழங்கு Nilappanaikkilanku • Bengali: Talamuli
Botanical name: Curculigo
orchioides Family: Hypoxidaceae (Star Grass family)
Synonyms: Curculigo ensifolia, Curculigo brevifolia, Hypoxis

Golden Eye Grass is a herbaceous tuberous perennial with a

short or elongate root stock bearing several fleshy lateral
roots. The plant can grow up to 10-35 cm tall. Leaves sessile
or petiolate 15-45x1.3-2.5 cm, linear or linear lanceolate, tips
sometimes rooting, scape very short, clavate. It has hardy
leaves and can take shade: the leaves will just get a bit longer
in the shade than in full sun shine. During flowering period it
open a golden yellow flower at the leaf base every day. This
can form a cute miniature plant pot in your room. Flowering:
Medicinal uses: The rhizomes of the plants are used for the
treatment of decline in strength, jaundice and asthma.
According to Ayurveda, root is heating, aphrodisiac,
alternative, appetizer, fattening and useful in treatment of
piles, biliousness, fatigue, blood related disorders etc.
According to Unani system of medicine, root is carminative,
tonic, aphrodisiac, antipyretic and useful in bronchitis,
ophthalmia, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, lumbago,
gonorrhea, gleet, hydrophobia, joint pains etc.
Identification credit: Rahul
Prabhu Khanolkar Photographed in Mumbai & Belgaun, Karnataka.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Nitu

Common name: Bell Weed, Prostrate Wild Petunia, Black

weed • Marathi: Kali dhawani • Tamil: Pottakanchi
• Malayalam: Upudali • Telugu: Neelambaram • Gujarati:
Kalughavani, Kali Dhraman
Botanical name: Dipteracanthus
prostratus Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)
Synonyms: Ruellia prostrata

Bell Weed is a prostrate perennial herb, with stems often

rooting at the nodes. Ovate green leaves, 2-10 cm long, have
lower surface conspicuously paler. Leaf stalk is 5-30 mm long.
Flowers occur solitary in the leaf axils, each one subtended by
oblanceolate to ovate bracts 1.5-2.3 cm long. Sepals 5, linear,
6-10 mm long. Flowers are violet blue to occasionally nearly
white, 2.4-3.2 cm long, the petals slightly spreading. Capsules
club-shaped, 1.5-2 cm long, densely covered with fine hairs.
Flowering: August-September.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Leafless Mistletoe, Jointed Mistletoe • Hindi:
ु ू Budu, पद
ु ू Pudu, Hurchu • Mizo: Lenpat • Marathi: बंदा Banda
• Kannada: Badanike • Bengali: Mandala •Oriya: Madanga
• Gujarati: વંદો Vando • Sanskrit: Kamini
Botanical name: Viscum
articulatum Family: Viscaceae (Mistletoe family)
Synonyms: Viscum nepalense

Everyone has heard of Mistletoe but very few have actually

seen this semi-parasitic shrub, because it grows upon the
branches of trees. Leafless Mistletoe is a much branched,
slender, smooth, pale, leafless parasite, forming a green
undershrub. The branches are flat, with pendulous tufts, 15-90
cm long; the internodes being variable in length; usually a
trifle wider at the distal end, and striate. The leaves are visible
only in the very young internodes as small bracts below the
flowers. The flowers are very minute, stalkless, and in
stalkless, 3-flowered spikes. There are two or several spikes at
a joint. The perianth of the male flowers is reflexed, and hardly
¼ mm long. The female flowers are about 1/2 mm long, with
two bracts, and the perianth lobes erect and triangular. The
fruit is stalkless, nearly spherical, about 3 mm in diameter,
white and shining when ripe. In Europe the mistletoe is well
known for the Christmas custom of kissing beneath its
branches. It also features in the popular Asterix comic books,
where mistletoe collected from oaks was considered to have
special qualities. Flowering: December-January.
Medicinal uses: Leafless Mistletoe is used as a cure for fever.
Paste is applied to cuts.

Photographed in Maharashtra.
<<< Back Photo: Tabish

ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Indian Mallow, Country Mallow, Abutilon,

Indian abutilon • Hindi: कंघी Kanghi • Marathi: पेटार
• Tamil: Paniyaratutti • Malayalam:  Velluram
•Telugu: Tuturabenda • Kannada: Tutti • Bengali:  Potari
Botanical name: Abutilon
indicum Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)
Synonyms: Sida indica

Indian Mallow is an erect velvety-pubescent shrub with

circular-ovate or heart-shaped leaves with coarsely crenate-
serrate margins. The plant can reach up to 1-2 m. The leaves
are alternately arranged, and have long stalks and have
velvety, soft, pale hairs on them. Orange-yellow flowers, 2-3
cm across, occur solitary in axils, on long stalks, 4-7 cm.
Orange-yellow petals are triangular-obovate, 1 cm long or
slightly more, staminal-tube hairy with stellate hairs. Fruit is
quite interesting - it is circular in shape, consisting of 11-20
radiating hairy carpels, brown when dry; each carpel flattened,
somewhat boatshaped. Seeds are kidney-shaped. The plant is
a weed commonly found on disturbed land. Flowering:
Medicinal uses: Extract of water-soaked dried seeds is used
as purgative. Leaves are used as tonic. Roots are taken as
infusion in fever.
Photographed at Okhla Pakshi Vihar, Delhi.
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Common name: Nux Vomica, Poison Nut • Bengali: Kuchila
• Hindi: Bailewa, Chibbinge, jahar, kajra, Kucchla • Kannada:
Hemmushti, Hemmusti, Ittangi • Malayalam: Chamram,
Kanjiram, Kanni-rak-karu • Marathi: Kajra, Kuchala,
Jharkhatchura • Oriya: Kuchla • Sanskrit: कपलु Kapilu, Chipita,
Chutaka, दघ प
Dirghapatra, Garadruma, वषमटु Vishmushti
• Tamil: etti, kagodi, kalam, kancirai • Telugu: mucidi,
mushidi, mushti • Urdu: Kuchla muddabir
Botanical name: Strychnos nux-
vomica Family: Loganiaceae (Logania family)

Nux Vomica is a medium-sized tree with a short, crooked,

thick trunk. The wood is white hard, close grained, durable.
Branches are irregular, covered with a smooth ash-coloured
bark. Young shoots are deep green, shiny. Oppostely arranged
short stalked leaves are elliptic, shiny, smooth on both sides,
about 4 inches long and 3 broad. Flowers are small, greenish-
white, funnel shaped, borne in small clusters at the end of
branches They have a disagreeable smell. Fruit is about the
size of a large apple with a smooth hard shell which when ripe
is orange colored, filled with a soft white jelly-like pulp
containing five seeds. The seeds are like flattened disks
densely covered with closely appressed satiny hairs, radiating
from the centre of the flattened sides and giving to the seeds a
characteristic sheen.
Medicinal uses: Nux Vomica is recommended for upset
stomach, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, intestinal
irritation, hangovers, heartburn, insomnia, certain heart
diseases, circulatory problems, eye diseases, depression,
migraine headaches, nervous conditions, problems related to
menopause, and respiratory diseases in the elderly. In folk
medicine, it is used as a healing tonic and appetite stimulant.
Nux vomica is a common homeopathic medicine prescribed for
digestive problems, sensitivity to cold, and irritability.
Identification credit: N. S.
Dungriyal Photographed in Kinnarsani, Andhra Pradesh.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Spiked Ginger Lily • Hindi: Sandharlika
संधालका , Kapur kachri कपरू कचर • Manipuri: l Takhellei
• Nepali: सेतो सरो Seto saro
Botanical name: Hedychium spicatum
Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

Spiked Ginger Lily is a smallish hardy ginger, growing to around 1-1.5 m, with leafy
stems. Flowers are fragrant, white with an orange-red base, appearing in a dense spike,
15-25 cm, at the top of the stem. Flower tube is 5-6.5 cm long, much longer than the
sepal cup, with white narrow petals spreading outwards. Lip is white with two elliptic
lobes with an orange base. Filaments of the stamens are red. Leaves are oblong, up to a
foot long and 4-12 cm broad, much like Haldi leaves. A perfume Abeer is obtained from
the root stock. Spiked Ginger Lily is found from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal
Pradesh, at altitudes of 1800-2800 m. Flowering: July-August.
Medicinal uses: Rootstocks are used in medicine.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Karmal, Dog Teak, Dillenia, Nepali elephant
apple • Hindi: करमल karmal • Marathi: पवळा करमळ piwala
karmal • Tamil: நாய்த்ேதக்கு nay-t-tekku, புன்ைன வைக
punnai vakai • Malayalam: pn kutapunna,  pn
pn vaazhappunna • Telugu:  к
chinna kalinga, 
revada • Kannada: ಾಡು ಕಗಲು kaadu
kanigalu • Bengali:   ban chalta • • Oriya: railgatcho
• Konkani: लहान करमल lahan karmal • Assamese: okshi
• Gujarati: કરમલ karmal • Khasi: dieng soh bar • Mizo:
kaihzawl, kawrthing-dengte • Sanskrit: अ कफल aksikiphal,
ु punnaga • Nepalese: राम फल ram phal, तानतार tantari
Botanical name: Dillenia
pentagyna Family: Dilleniaceae (Karmal family)
Synonyms: Dillenia floribunda, Dillenia hainanensis
Karmal is a large deciduous tree grows up to 40 meters in
height. Leaves are large, 1-2 ft, alternate, ovate-rhomboid,
obtuse or acute. Flowers yellowish, fragrant, 2-3 cm across,
arise from the nodes of fallen leaves, on panicles. Fruits 2.5
cm in diameter, globose contain single seed. The flower-buds
and young fruits have a pleasant, acid flavor and are eaten
raw or cooked in Oudh and central India. The ripe fruits are
also eaten.Dillenia, named in honour of J. J. Dillenius (1684-
1747), a noted botanist. Pentagyna in allusion to the flower
having five styles. Flowering: March-May.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, the plant pacifies
vitiated vata, kapha, anal fistula, wounds, diabetes, diabetic
carbuncle, neuritis, pleurisy, pneumonia, and burning
credit: OIKOS Photographed at Yeoor Hills, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Pongam Tree, Indian Beech Tree, Pongame
Oil Tree • Hindi: Karanj करं ज • Tamil: புன்ைன Punnai
• Malayalam: Ponnu, Unnu • Oriya: Koranjo • Kannada: Honge
• Marathi: करं ज Karanj • Telugu: Pungu • Gujarati: કરં જ Karanja
• Bengali: я Karanj • Assamese: Karchaw • Sanskrit: करं जः
Botanical name: Millettia pinnata Family: Fabaceae (pea
Synonyms: Pongamia pinnata, Pongamia glabra, Derris
indica, Cytisus pinnatus

A fast-growing deciduous tree up to 20 metres tall that is

thought to have originated in India and is found throughout
Asia. It is a deciduous tree that grows to about 15-25 meters
in height with a large canopy that spreads equally wide. The
leaves are a soft, shiny burgundy in early summer and mature
to a glossy, deep green as the season progresses. Small
clusters of white, purple, and pink flowers blossom on their
branches throughout the year, maturing into brown seed pods.
The tree is well suited to intense heat and sunlight and its
dense network of lateral roots and its thick, long taproot make
it drought tolerant. Flowering: March-April.
Medicinal uses: A thick brownish oil can be extracted from
the large seeds, and is used industrially and in medicine,
notably for the treatment of rheumatism.
Identification credit: Rita Singh Photographed in Delhi.
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aturalized Photo: Aarti Khale

Common name: Chicory, Blue sailors, Succory, Coffeeweed

• Hindi: कासनी Kasni, Hinduba • Marathi: kachani • Malayalam:
chikkari • Telugu: kasini, kasini-vittulu •Kannada: chikory
• Urdu: kasni, tukme-e-kasni, barg-e-kasni • Sanskrit: कासनी
Botanical name: Cichorium
intybus Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Chicory is a bushy perennial herb with blue or lavender

flowers. It is a bushy perennial plant that attains a height of 1
to 4 feet. The stem has edges having hard branches. Flowers
occur either solitary on nearly leafless branches, or in clusters
in leaf axils. Flower-heads are 2.5-4 cm across, with spreading
ray-florets. The green bracts below the flowers are prominent.
The outer lancelike bracts are spreading outwards, while the
longer inner ones are upright. Leaves are oblong-lancelike, and
lower leaves are pinnately lobed. The upper leaves are entire,
bract-like, stem-clasping. Root is like a tail of a cow and is
fleshy having brownish color from outside and white color from
inside. It has a length of 2 ½ feet and has a bitter taste.
Chicory is grown for its leaves, or for the roots, which are
baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute in instant
coffee. In India Chicory is found in the northwestern regions
like Kashmir and Punjab and in areas of south India.
Medicinal uses: The ancient Egyptians ate large amounts of
chicory because it was believed that the plant could purify the
blood and liver, while others have relied on the herb for its
power to cure "passions of the heart." Chicory continues to be
a popular herbal remedy due to its healing effects on several
Identification credit: Lakshmi
Subramanian Photographed in Nasik, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Nongthombam Ulysses

Common name: Indian Barberry, Boxthorn Barberry • Hindi:

Darhaldi, Chatrol •Kumaon: Kirmora • Urdu: इशकन Ishkeen,
Kushmul, Zarch • Gujarati: કસમલ Kasmal
Botanical name: Berberis
lycium Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry family)

Indian Barberry is a semi deciduous shrub, 2-4 m high, leaves

lanceolate or narrowly obovate-oblong, entire or with a few
large spinous teeth, arranged alternately on stem.
Inflorescence a raceme, flowers yellow born in axillary clusters
longer than the leaves. Fruit, berries, black. Flowering: March-
Medicinal uses: Indian Barberry's roots are used as remedy
for swollen and sore eyes, broken bones, wounds, gonorrhea,
curative piles, unhealthy ulcers, acute conjunctive and in
chronic opthalmia, also used as bitter tonic astringent,
diaphoretic and febrifuge. Leaves are given in jaundice.