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Tell a friend about this flower!

ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Satawari, Wild Asparagus • Hindi: सतावर

satawari, bojhidan, शतवीर shatavir • Manipuri:  Nunggarei
• Marathi: सतावर मल
ू Satavari-mul, आसवेल Asvel •Tamil:
ஸதாவr Sadavari, Tannir-muttan-kizhangu, கிலவr Kilavari
• Malayalam:  Chatavali,  Satavali • Telugu:
challa-gaddalu, challagadda, ettavaludutige • Kannada:
aheruballi, ashadhi, halarru-makkal • Bengali: 

Satamul • Oriya:  Vari • Urdu: ‫ ســــتاور‬Satawar, ‫شـــــقاقل‬
‫ یمســر‬Shaqaqul misri •Assamese:  
Satomul • Sanskrit:
Abhiru, शतावर Shatavari, हरयंगी Hiranyasringi • Mizo:
Botanical name: Asparagus
racemosus Family: Asparagaceae (Asparagus family)
Synonyms: Asparagus volubilis
Satawari is a woody climber growing to 1-2 m in height, with
leaves like pine needles, small and uniform and the flowers
white, in small spikes. It contains adventitious root system
with tuberous roots. Stems are climbing, branched, up to 2 m;
branches usually distinctly striate-ridged. Leaves are just
modified stems, called cladodes. Branches contain spines on
them. Inflorescences develope after cladodes, axillary, each a
many-flowered raceme or panicle 1-4 cm. Pedicel 1.5-3 mm,
slender, articulate at middle. Flowers are white with a pink
tinge, 2-3 mm, bell-shaped with 6 petals. Stamens equal, ca.
0.7 mm; anthers yellow, minute. Within India, it is found
growing wild in tropical and sub-tropical parts of India
including the Andamans; and ascending in the Himalayas up to
an altitude of 1500 m. Flowering: October-November.
Medicinal uses: In Ayurvedic medicine, the root of Satavari is
used in the form of juice, paste, decoction and powder to treat
intrinsic haemorrhage, diarrhoea, piles, hoarseness of voice,
cough, arthritis, poisoning, diseases of female genital tract,
erysipelas, fever, as aphrodisiac and as rejuvinative.
Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Sita Ashok, Sorrowless tree • Hindi: सीता

अशोक Sita Ashok, Ashok अशोक • Gujarati: Ashopalava
• Kannada: Achenge • Malayalam: Hemapushpam •Marathi:
Jasundi • Tamil: அேசாகம் Asogam • Telugu: Asokamu
Botanical name: Saraca indica/Jonesia
asoka Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

Ashoka is one of the most legendary and sacred trees of India,

and one of the most fascinating flowers in the Indian range of
flower essences. Ashok is a Sanskrit word meaning without
grief or that which gives no grief. Indigenous to India, Burma
and Malaya, it is an erect tree, small and evergreen, with a
smooth, grey-brown bark. The crown is compact and shapely.
Flowers are usually to be seen throughout the year, but it is in
January and February that the profusion of orange and scarlet
clusters turns the tree into an object of startling beauty.
Pinned closely on to every branch and twig, these clusters
consist of numerous, small, long-tubed flowers which open out
into four oval lobes. Yellow when young, they become orange
then crimson with age and from the effect of the sun's rays.
From a ring at the top of each tube spread several long, half-
white, half-crimson, stamens which give an hairy appearance
to the flower clusters. In strong contrast to these fiery blooms
is the deep-green, shiny foliage. The foot-long leaves each
have four, five or six pairs of long, wavy-edged, leaflets.
Young leaves are soft, red and limp and remain pendent even
after attaining full size.
Medicinal uses: As one would expect from a tree of the
country it has many useful medicinal properties. The juice
obtained from boiling the bark is a cure for some ailments of
women, and a pulp of the blossoms is one of the remedies
used for dysentery.
Identification credit: Neelima Photographs from Maharashtra & Bangalore.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Suryavarti, Rottler's Chrozophora • Hindi:
शदे वी shadevi • Marathi: सय
ु वत
suryavarti • Tamil: Purapirakkai
• Telugu:   erra miriyamu,


 linga mirapa • Kannada: ಮಣಸು lingamenasu

• Konkani: सवल
ु survarli • Urdu: चोटक हकाथ
ु chotaki
hunkatath, सयु वत suryawarta • Sanskrit: सय
ु वत suryavarta
Botanical name: Chrozophora
rottleri Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Croton rottleri

Suryavarti is an erect herb with silvery hairs. Lower part of

stem is naked, upper part hairy. It has slender tap-root.
Leaves are stalked, 3.5-9.5 cm long, 2.3-8 cm wide, ovate to
circular, with wavy margin. The leaves are densely hairy on
both sides. Flowers are small, yellowish. Male flowers petals
ovate. Female flowers sepals triangular, acute. Fruit is a
capsule. Flowering: February-August.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Satish Phadke

Common name: Indian Olibanum, Indian frankincense

• Gujarati: સાલેડ saaledi, સલાઈ ગળ salaai gugul • Hindi:
शलक shallaki, kundur, luban • Kannada: ಗುಗುಳ ಮರ guggula
mara • Malayalam:  kungilyam • Marathi: धपाळी

dhupali, धपसाळी
ू dhupasali, कं
ु द kurunda, सालफळी salaphali,
साळई salai, साळी sali • Oriya: salai • Sanskrit: भीषण bhishan,
ु ु guggula, हितनशना hastinashana, पालंक palank, पावती
parvati, हा दनी hradini, क!द
ु kurunda, सलक sallaki, शलक
ु sruva • Tamil: குமஞ்சம் kumancam, குங்கிலியம்
shallaki, "वा
kunkiliyam, மரத்துெவள்ைள marattu-vellai,
பறங்கிச்சாம்பிராணி paranki-c-campi-rani, ெவள்ளிக்கீ ைர
vellai-k-kirai • Telugu:  guggilamu, 

parangi-sambrani-chettu,   sallaki • Urdu: kundur, lobana
Botanical name: Boswellia
serrata Family: Burseraceae (Torchwood family)
Synonyms: Boswellia glabra, Boswellia thurifera, Bursera

Indian Olibanum is a deciduous tree endemic to India and has

been recorded on dry hills and slopes, on gravelly soils
between an altitude range of 275-900 m. It is a medium sized
tree, 3-5 m tall, with ash coloured papery bark. Alternately
arranged leaves are pinnate, crowded at the end of branches,
20-40 cm long. There are 8-15 pairs of leaflets, 3-6 cm long,
with an odd one at the tip. Leaflets are ovate, with toothed
margin. Flowers are tiny, creamy, about 8 mm across, borne in
10-15 cm long racemes in leaf axils. There are 10 stamens
with a short style and a 3-lobed stigma. Fruits are 2 cm long,
3-cornered. Indian Olibanum tree, on injury, exudates an oleo-
gum-resin known as Salai, Guggal or Indian Frankincense.
Flowering: January.
Medicinal uses: Extracts of Indian Olibanum have been
clinically studied for osteoarthritis and joint function,
particularly for osteoarthritis of the knee. A Boswellia extract
marketed under the name Wokvel has undergone human
efficacy, comparative, pharmacokinetic studies. Indian
Olibanum is used in the manufacture of the supposed anti-
wrinkle agent "Boswelox", which has been criticised as being
Identification credit: Satish Phadke
Photographed in Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower! Common name: Wild Indigo,
Fish Poison, Tephrosia, {Sarphonk सरफक, Sharpunkha शरपंख
ु ा}
(Hindi), Unhali (Marathi)
Botanical name: Tephrosia purpurea
Family: Fabaceae (pea family)

Native to East India, Wild Indigo grows as common wasteland

weed. In many parts it is under cultivation as green manure
crop. Its is a plant of the genus Tephrosia having pinnate
leaves and white or purplish flowers and flat hairy pods. This
plant contains a mild toxin called tephrosin which chemically
stuns fish but does not effect mammals. The extract is
obtained by crushing the whole plant by mortar and pestle, or
rocks, and then scattering it in tide pools. In a few minutes,
small fish would float up to the surface and could be caught by
hand. The flesh from the fish is safe to eat. This system of
fishing, good for older people and children, was called hola.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, plant is digestible,
anthelmintic, alexiteric, antipyretic, alternative, cures diseases
of liver, spleen, heart, blood, tumours, ulcers, leprosy, asthma,
poisoning etc. According to Unani system of medicine, root is
diuretic, allays thirst, enriches blood, cures diarrhea, useful in
bronchitis, asthma, liver, spleen diseases, inflammations, boils
and pimples; Leaves are tonic to intestines and a promising
appetizer. Good in piles, syphilis and
gonorrhoea. Photographed in J.N.U., Delhi.
Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag
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Common name: Tailed Pepper, java pepper, cubeb • Hindi:
कबाब चीनी Kabab-chini, kabachini, शीतल चीनी Sheetal-chini
• Kannada: Balmenasu, Gandha menasu •Malayalam: Val-
milaku • Marathi: Mothi, Pimpli • Oriya: Sugandhamaricha
• Sanskrit: Renuka, cinatiksna, Chinorana, Kakkola • Tamil:
valmilaku, kanakamilaku, takkolam •Telugu: halava-miriyalu,
toka-miriyalu • Urdu: Kabab-chini, Shital-chini
Botanical name: Piper cubeba Family: Piperaceae (Pepper

Tailed pepper is a plant cultivated for its fruit and essential oil.
It is mostly grown in Java and Sumatra, hence sometimes
called Java pepper. It is a perennial plant, with a climbing
stem, round branches, about as thick as a goose-quill, ash-
colored, and rooting at the joints. The leaves are from 4-6.5
inches long, 1.5-2 inches broad, ovate-oblong, long pointed,
and very smooth. Flowers are arranged in narrow spikes at the
end of the branches. Fruit, a berry rather longer than that of
black pepper. Tailed pepper is native to SE Asia, introduced in
India by Arabian traders.
Medicinal uses: Sanskrit texts included cubeb in various
remedies. Charaka and Sushruta prescribed a cubeb paste as a
mouthwash, and the use of dried cubebs internally for oral and
dental diseases, loss of voice, halitosis, fevers, and cough.
Unani physicians use a paste of the cubeb berries externally on
male and female genitals to intensify sexual pleasure during
coitus. Due to this attributed property, cubeb was called
Identification credit: Vijayadas
D. Photographed in Sohra Forest, Meghalaya.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Willow-Leaved Water Croton • Hindi: शेरनी
Sherni • Marathi: रान कणेर raan kaner, शेरणी sherni • Tamil:
காட்டலr kattalari • Malayalam: neervanchi, puzhavanchi
• Telugu:   Adavi ganneru • Kannada: ೊೆ ನೆ hole
nage, ೕರು ಕಗಳ Niru kanigalu • Oriya: thotthori • Assamese:
Hil-kadam, Tuipui-sulhla • Khasi: Jalangmynrei • Sanskrit:
जलवेतस Jalavetasa, ुपाषाणभेद Kshudrapashanabheda
Botanical name: Homonoia
riparia Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Adelia neriifolia

Willow-Leaved Water Croton is a plant commonly found

growing along small streams at low and medium altitudes, on
banks, and in streambeds. It is a shrub growing to 1-3 m tall.
The leaves are linear-lanceshaped, 12-20 cm long, and 1.5-2
cm wide. Upper surface of the leaves is green and shining, and
the lower surface brown and hairy. Reddish flowers are born in
spikes 5-10 cm long, with obovate bracts, 1.5-2 mm long.
Male flowers have 0.2 mm long stalks, 3 velvety sepals, 3-4
mm long. Female flowers have 5 oblong sepals, with tapering
tips, about 1-2 mm long. The capsules are about 8 mm in
diameter, hairy, and borne on solitary, hairy spikes, 5-12 cm
long, in leaf axils.
Medicinal uses: A decoction of the root is a laxative and
diuretic and is used in piles, stone in the bladder, gonorrhea,
syphilis and thirst.
credit: Dinesh Photographed at banks of river Koyna near Shirgaon, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Shikakai, Soap-pod • Hindi: Kochi, रठा
Reetha, शकाकाई Shikakai •Marathi: रठा Reetha • Tamil: Shika,
Sheekay, Chikaikkai • Malayalam: Cheeyakayi, Chinik-kaya,
Shikai, Cheenikka • Telugu: Cheekaya, Chikaya, Gogu
• Kannada: Sheegae, Shige kayi, Sigeballi • Oriya: Vimala
• Urdu: Shikakai • Assamese: Amsikira, Kachuai, Pasoi tenga,
Suse lewa • Sanskrit: Bahuphenarasa, Bhuriphena,
Charmakansa, Charmakasa, Phenila
Botanical name: Acacia
concinna Family: Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Synonyms: Acacia hooperiana, Acacia sinuata, Mimosa

Shikakai is a climbing, most well-known for the natural

shampoo derived from its fruit. Thorny branches have brown
smooth stripes - thorns are short, broad-based, flattened.
Leaves with caducous stipules not thorn-like. Leaf stalks are 1-
1.5 cm long with a prominent gland about the middle. Leaves
are double-pinnate, with 5-7 pairs of pinnae, the primary
rachis being thorny, velvety. Each pinnae has 12-18 pairs of
leaflets, which are oblong-lanceshaped, 3-10 mm long,
pointed, obliquely rounded at base. Inflorescences is a cluster
of 2 or 3 stalked rounded flower-heads in axils of upper
reduced leaves, appearing paniculate. Stalk carrying the
cluster is 1-2.5 cm long, velvety. Flower-heads about 1 cm in
diameter when mature. Flowers are pink, without or with
reduced subtending bracts. Pods are thick, somewhat
flattened, stalked, 8 cm long, 1.5-1.8 cm wide.
Medicinal uses: Shikakai is a commonly used herb that has
many remedial qualities. It is popularly referred as "fruit for
the hair" as it has a naturally mild pH, that gently cleans the
hair without stripping it of natural oils. Shikakai is used to
control dandruff, promoting hair growth and strengthening hair
roots. Its leaves are used in malarial fever, decoction of the
pods are used to relieve biliousness and acts as a purgative.
An ointment, prepared from the ground pods, is good for skin
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale
Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra.
ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Indian rosewood, Shisham शीशम (Hindi),

Sissu (Manipuri), Sitral (Bengali)
Botanical name: Dalbergia sissoo Family: Fabaceae (pea
Shisham is a medium to large deciduous tree, native to India,
with a light crown which reproduces by seeds and suckers. It
can grow up to a maximum of 25 m in height and 2 to 3 m in
diameter, but is usually smaller. Trunks are often crooked
when grown in the open. Leaves are leathery, alternate,
pinnately compound and about 15 cm long. Flowers are whitish
to pink, fragrant, nearly sessile, up to 1.5 cm long and in
dense clusters 5-10 cm in length. Pods are oblong, flat, thin,
strap-like 4-8 cm long, 1 cm wide, and light brown. They
contain 1-5 flat bean-shaped seeds 8-10 mm long. They have
a long taproot and numerous surface roots which produce
suckers. It is primarily found growing along river banks below
900 m elevation, but can range naturally up to 1300 m.
Shisham is best known internationally as a premier timber
species of the rosewood genus. However, Shisham is also an
important fuel wood, shade, and shelter. With its multiple
products, tolerance of light frosts and long dry seasons, this
species deserves greater consideration for tree farming,
reforestation and agro forestry applications. After teak, it is
the most important cultivated timber tree in India, planted on
roadsides, and as a shade tree for tea plantations.
Medicinal uses: Decoction of leaves is useful in gonorrhoea.
Root is astringent. Wood is alterative, useful in leprosy, boils,
eruptions and to allay vomiting.
Photographed in Delhi
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Milk and Wine Lily, Ceylon swamplily, Pink

striped trumpet lily • Hindi: सदश
ु न Sudarshan • Marathi:
Gandani-kanda, Gadambhikanda, Golkamdo • Tamil:
Vishamungil • Kannada: Vish mungli • Bengali: Sukhdarshan
• Konkani: Golkando •Sanskrit: मधप
ु का Madhuparnika,
Botanical name: Crinum
latifolium Family: Amaryllidaceae (Nargis family)
Synonyms: Crinum zeylanicum

This old fashioned crinum lily is a low maintence plant that

produces lovely, large, striped, lily-like flowers. The stripes are
alternately wine pink and white. The flowers also have a
wonderful faintly sweet fragrance. The tall bloom stalk stands
about 18-24 inches above the abundant foilage and hold 5+
blooms at a time! These will produce several flower stalks
during the warmer months with the majority of blooms coming
in the spring and fall. These lilies will multiply by producing
bulbs underground as well as from the seeds that form after
the blooms. You'll have a lovely large group of these in no
time. Milk and Wine Lily is native to India. Flowering: June-
Medicinal uses: Bulbs are extremely acrid. When roasted,
they are used as a rubefacient in rheumatism. Crushed and
toasted bulb is applied to piles and abscesses to cause
suppuration. The juice of the leaf is used in
earache. Photographed in Delhi
Tell a friend about this flower!
aturalized Photo: Gurcharan Singh

Common name: Mexican Tea, Epazote, Wormseed, Jesuit's

Tea, Herba Sancti Mariæ • Hindi: सगं
ु ध वतका
ू Sugandha-
vastooka • Kannada: guddada voma, huli voma, kaadu voma,
• Manipuri: o  Monshaobi-manbi • Marathi:
Chandanbatva • Mizo: Buarchhimtir
Botanical name: Dysphania
ambrosioides Family: Chenopodiaceae (Cat tail family)
Synonyms: Chenopodium ambrosioides

Mexican Tea is an annual or short-lived perennial herb,

growing up to 1.2 m tall. The plant is irregularly branched,
with oblong-lanceshaped leaves up to 12 cm long. Flowers are
small and green, produced in a branched panicle at the tip of
the stem. It is grown in warm temperate to subtropical areas
world over, sometimes becoming an invasive weed.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Fragrant Swamp Mallow, Pavonia, Fragrant
Pavonia • Hindi: सगं
ु धबाला Sugandhabala • Marathi: सगं
ु धबाला
Sugandhabala, Kalavala • Tamil: Peramutti, Avibattam
• Malayalam: Iruveli, Kuruntotti • Telugu: Chittibenda, Ettakuti
• Kannada: Balarakshi gida • Gujarati: Kalowalo • Sanskrit:
Udichya, Varinamaka,
बेरा Hribera, Valaka
Botanical name: Pavonia
odorata Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)

Fragrant Swamp Mallow is an erect perennial herb,covered

with sticky hairs. Leaves are heart-shaped-ovate, 3-5 angled
or 3-5 lobed, 4-6 cm long, 5-7 cm broad. Flowers arise singly
in leaf axils, or fascicled at the end of branches. Bracts are 10-
12 in number, linear, and sepals are 5. Flowers are pink, twice
longer than the sepal cup. Fruit is spherical and mericarps
smooth, wingless. Fragrant Swamp Mallow is found in India,
Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka and East Tropical Africa.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Takoli • Hindi: टकोल Takoli • Telugu:
Nagulapachari • Assamese: Meda-luwa • Malayalam:
Mannavitti • Tamil: Erigai • Marathi: Dandus • Oriya: Dodilo
•Rajasthani: parbati • Urdu: Dandous
Botanical name: Dalbergia lanceolaria ssp. lanceolaria
Family: Fabaceae (pea family)

Takoli is a very conspicuous and handsome tree when

flowering, which appear very protusely during the months of
May and June. Large tree with smooth bark, branches
glabrous. Leaf compound 7.0-15.0 cm long; leaflets 11-17,
2.5-5.0 cm long, ovate or obovate or elliptic, often
emarginate, glabrous, glaucous. Inflorescence large axillary or
terminal panicles flowers unilaterally arranged. Calyx silky
pubescent, upper teeth obtuse, lower 3 longer and acute.
Flower tube dull white or pinkish. Vexillum c. 5-10 mm long.
Stamens 10, in 2 groups of 5 stamens each. Fruit c. 5-8 cm
long, narrowed at both ends, glabrous, usually 1-seeded.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Coffee Plum, Indian cherry, Indian plum,
rukam, runeala plum • Hindi: Talispatri, पनयाला Paniala, पानी
आमला Pani amla • Manipuri: t Heitroi • Marathi:
Champeran • Tamil: Vaiyyankarai • Malayalam: Vayyamkaitha
• Telugu: Kuragayi •Kannada: Chankali, Goraji • Bengali:
Paniala • Oriya: Baincha • Konkani: Jagam •Assamese: 

Ponial • Gujarati: Talispatra • Sanskrit: Sruvavrkash,
Botanical name: Flacourtia
jangomas Family: Flacourtiaceae (Coffee Plum family)
Synonyms: Stigmarota jangomas, Flacourtia cataphrata

Coffee Plum is small, deciduous tree, growing to 6-10 m tall.

Trunk and branches are commonly thornless in old trees, but
densely beset with simple or branched, woody thorns when
younger. Bark is light-brown to copper-red or pinkish-buff,
flaky. Young branches white-dotted by numerous circular
lenticels. Leaves narrow-ovate to ovate-oblong, rarely ovate-
lancelike, long-obtuse-acuminate, base broadly wedge-shped
to rounded. Leaves are smooth, shining above, mostly dull
beneath, somewhat toothed, 7-10 X 3-4 cm. Leaf stalk is 6-8
mm long. Flowers arise in few flowered clusters in leaf axils.
Flowers smell of honey, and looks like small yellowish-white
balls of stamens. Male and female flowers are different and are
on different trees. Coffee plum is a rounded red to dark purple
fruit, that is about an inch wide. It is edible, and is relatively
juicy. It can be eaten raw, or transformed into juice or
marmalades. Flowering: April-May.
Medicinal uses: The fruits and leaves are used against
diarrhea. Dried leaves are used for bronchitis. Roots against
Identification credit: Thingnam
Sophia Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Thomas Kornack

Common name: Dwarf Rhododendron, Talis (Hindi), Talisri

Botanical name: Rhododendron
anthopogon Family: Ericaceae (Rhododendron family)

This is probably one of the smallest of rhododendrons. Grows

to no more that 2-3 ft high. The white or yellow flowers, tinged
with pink, grow in small compact clusters of 4-6 and each
flower is 2 cm across. The dark green oval leaves are strongly
aromatic and densely scaly underneath. The leaves are mixed
with Juniper and used as incense in Buddhist monastries as
well as in Hindu religious ceremonies.
Medicinal uses: In Nepal, Dwarf Rhododendron is used in
making an essential oil. Anthopogon oil, as it is usually
referred to in Nepal, is obtained by steam distillation of the
aerial part of this shrub. It is a fluid liquid of pale yellow colour
and sweet-herbal, faintly balsamic aroma. Rhododendron can
be used in gouty rheumatic conditions.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Pravin Kawale

Common name: Tanner's Cassia • Hindi: Tarwar तरवड़

• Marathi: Tarwad तरवड •Kannada: Tangedi • Telugu: Tagedu
• Tamil: Avaram • Gujarati: Awala • Malayalam: Avaram
Botanical name: Senna
auriculata Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Cassia auriculata

Tanner's Cassia is a branched shrub, growing upto 1-1.5 m

high. It has a smooth reddish brown bark. It has many
ascending branches and 8-10 cm long pinnate leaves. There
are 8-12 pairs of leaflets, each 2-3 cm long. Bright yellow
flowers appear in recemes at the end of branches. The flowers
are 4-5 cm across. Upper three stamens are reduced to
stamenoides. Fruit is a 7-12 cm long, flat brown pod.
Medicinal uses: In Ayurveda, the root of this plant is used in
a decoction for fevers, diabetes, diseases of the urinary system
and constipation. The leaves have laxative properties. The
dried flower and flower buds are used as substitute
Tell a friend about this flower!
aturalized Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Siam Weed, Bitter bush, Devilweed,

Hagonoy, Jack in the bush, Triffid weed • Hindi: ती गंधा Tivra
gandha, Bagh dhoka • Malayalam: ms c
Communist Pacha, Venapacha
Botanical name: Chromolaena
odorata Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Eupatorium odoratum

Siam Weed is a big bushy herb or subshrub with long rambling

(but not twining branches. In open areas it spreads into
tangled, dense thickets up to 2 m tall, and higher when
climbing up vegetation. Many paired branches grow off the
main stem. The base of the plant becomes hard and woody
while the branch tips are soft and green. The leaves are
arrowhead-shaped, 5–12 cm long and 3–7 cm wide, with three
characteristic veins in a ‘pitchfork’ pattern. They grow in
opposite pairs along the stems and branches. As the species
name ‘odorata’ suggests, the leaves emit a pungent odour
when crushed. Clusters of 10–35 pale pink–mauve or white
tubular flowers, 10 mm long, are found at the ends of
branches. The seeds are dark coloured, 4–5 mm long, narrow
and oblong, with a parachute of white hairs which turn brown
as the seed dries. Siam weed is native to Tropical America, but
is now naturalized throughout the tropics.
Medicinal uses: It is used as a traditional medicine in
Indonesia. The young leaves are crushed, and the resulting
liquid can be used to treat skin wounds.
Identification credit: S. Basu &
Eby Abraham Photographed in Maharashtra & Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Winged Prickly Ash, Prickly ash, Tumbru,
Toothache Tree, Tejbal, Yellow wood, Suterberry • Hindi:
तेजफल Tejphal, Darmar, Tumru, Timroo, Trimal •Manipuri:
 Mukthrubi • Tamil: तमरु Timur • Telugu: Konda-Kasimi
• Kannada:  Jimmi
Botanical name: Zanthoxylum
armatum Family: Rutaceae (Citrus family)
Synonyms: Zanthoxylum alatum

Winged Prickly Ash is a small tree or large spiny shrub. Leaves

are distinctlively trifoliolate, with the leaf-stalk winged. Leaflets
are stalkless, 2-7.5 x 1-1.7 cm, elliptic to ovate-lancelike,
entire to slightly toothed, sharp-tipped, base sometimes
oblique. Minute yellow flowers arise in leaf axils. Flowers have
6-8 acute sepals. Petals are absent. Male flowers have 6-8
stamens, and large anthers because of which the flowers look
yellow. Female flowers have 1-3 celled ovary, 3 mm in
diameter, pale red, splitting into two when ripe. Seed are
rounded, 3 mm in diameter, shining black. Flowering: March-
Medicinal uses: Prickly Ash is used in many chronic problems
such a rheumatism and skin diseases; chilblains, cramp in the
leg, varicose veins and varicose ulcers. It is also used for low
blood pressure, fever, and inflammation. Externally it may be
used as a stimulation liniment for rheumatism and fibrositis. It
has a stimulating effect upon the lymphatic system, circulation
and mucous membranes.
Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Sobhapati Samom

Common name: East Indian Arrowroot, Bombay arrowroot

• Hindi: Tikhur तखरु •Bengali: Keturi halodhi • Manipuri: i
Yaipan • Marathi: Tavakeera, Tavakhira, Tavakila • Malayalam:
Koova, Kuva-kizhanna • Tamil: Ararutkilangu, Kua, Ararut-
kizhangu • Kannadai: Koove-hittu • Telugu: Ararut-gaddalu
• Sanskrit: Tavakshira
Botanical name: Curcuma
angustifolia Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

East Indian Arrowroot is an attractive ginger with stout

underground rhizomes which lie dormant in winters. In early
spring the flowers are produced before the leaves. Very
colourful bracts make this a showy species. The shape and
colour of the bracts are very variable. The inflorescence lasts
in full bloom on the plants for about three weeks and more.
Good for cut flower use with a vase life of 10 days and more
for fresh cut blooms. Leaves grow to about 2ft tall and die
down in autumn. This species is found in the Eastern Himalays
and inhabits bright open hillsides and woods. In
Manipur, pakodasmade using these flowers, are considered a
Medicinal uses: East Indian Arrowroot is recognized as a
medical herb. It is nutritive, and is used as an agreeable, non-
irritating diet in certain chronic diseases, during convalescence
from fevers, in irritations of the alimentary canal, pulmonary
organs, or of the urinary apparatus, and is well suited for
infants to supply the place of breast-milk, or for a short time
after having weaned them. It may be given in the form of jelly,
variously seasoned with sugar, lemon-juice, fruit jellies,
essences, or aromatics. Its jelly has no peculiar taste, and is
less liable to become acid in the stomach, and is generally
preferred by young infants to all others, except tapioca.
Identification credit: Basantarani
Photographed in Manipur
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Triangular Spurge, Square Spurge, Square
milk hedge, Fleshy spurge • Hindi: धार Tridhara, व कंटक
Vajrakantaka • Manipuri: u Tengnou • Marathi: Narasya
• Tamil: சதுரக்கள்ளி chaturakalli, கள்ளி kalli, கண்டீரவம்
Kantiravam, Kodiravam, Tiruvargalli • Malayalam:
Chaturakkalli • Telugu:  я bommajemudu, 
bontha jemudu, bontha kl• Kannada: Kontekalli, Jadekalli,
Mundukalli •Bengali: Tiktasij • Konkani: Tirikon • Sanskrit: न

snuhu, वकाटक Vajrakantaka
Botanical name: Euphorbia
antiquorum Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Triangular Spurge is a small succulent tree, usually shrub-like,

with plentiful white sap. Wide spread throughout peninsular
India, it can be found growing up to an altitude of 800 m. One
of the largest armed tree Euphorbias with an average height of
5-7 m, it has been known to attain gigantic proportions if left
undisturbed. Older stems cylindrical, with brownish bark;
younger branches smooth, green, distinctly 3(-4)-angled,
distinctly articulate with the segments 6-30 by 2-5 cm, drying
greenish, with shallow to hardly narrowed sinuses between the
spine-shields. Spine-shields in rows, shallow, 1.5-2 cm apart,
spines in pairs, (3-)4-6 mm long, blackish, persistent. The
flower structures are called cyathia. Cyathium is an
inflorescence consisting of a cuplike cluster of modified leaves
enclosing a female flower and several male flowers. Yellow
cyathia can be in triads or 3-4 individual together. They are full
of honey that attract bees. Seed capsules turn deep red on
maturity. The odour of its latex is pungent and lingering. Easily
propagated from seed or vegetatively, this Euphorbia is
common in collections and easy to grow.
Medicinal uses: Juice of the plant is useful in chest pain and
constipation. Latex is applied to boils for early suppuration and
healing. Root bark is purgative. Latex is useful in killing
maggots of wounds. Saline extract
of the plant is antibiotic. Photographed in Malavali, Maharashtra.
Identification credit: Hemanth Tripathi
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Common name: Red Clover, Purple clover, Broad-leaved
clover • Hindi: पा Tripatra
Botanical name: Trifolium pratense Family: Fabaceae (Pea

Red Clover is a species of clover, native to Europe, western

Asia and northwest Africa. It can be easily distinguished from
its close cousin White Clover by its much larger plant, with
distinctly pink blooms. It is a herbaceous perennial plant, very
variable in size, growing to more than 2 feet tall. The leaves
are trifoliate (with three leaflets), each leaflet 15-30 mm long
and 8-15 mm broad, green with a characteristic pale crescent
in the outer half of the leaf; the petiole is 1-4 cm long, with
two basal stipules. The flowers are dark pink with a paler base,
12-15 mm long, produced in a dense inflorescence 2-3 cm
diameter. The plant was named Trifolium pratense by Carolus
Linnaeus in 1753. The botanical name pratense is Latin for
"found in meadows", which is very much true. It is the national
flower of Denmark.
Medicinal uses: A tea from the flower has long been
considered an antispasmodic and mild sedative and has been
used for various lung and throat problem such as sore throats,
coughs and asthma. The flowers were once smoked as an
asthma treatment. Externally it is used as a salve for burns
and sores. There seems to be no scientific evidence to support
medical uses of Clover, but, being edible it probably can't hurt
unless it is used instead of more
effective treatments. Photographed in Kufri, Himachal Pradesh.
ative Photo: Lalita Khobarekar

Common name: Blue Fox Tail, Blue Justicia • Bengali: Neel

Kantha • Hindi: udajati •Kannada: kappubobbuli, kappukuruni
• Malayalam: karinkurinni, kuranta • Marathi: dhakta adulsa,
Ranaboli. Ekboli • Sanskrit: nila-sahacharah • Tamil: Nilambari
• Telugu: chikatiquratappa, nakkatoka
Botanical name: Ecbolium
linneanum Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)
Synonyms: Justicia ecbolia

Blue Fox Tail is a shrubby plant, with 4-sided flower-spikes at

the end of branches. Bracts are oval, entire, mucronate.
Leaves are elliptic-oblong, narrowed at both ends, velvety.
Flowers are large, greenish blue. Upper lip of the flower is
linear, reflexed. Blue Fox Tail is found in Mumbai and Konkan
Medicinal uses: Plant is used in gout and dysuria; decoction
of leaves for stricture. Roots are given in jaundice,
menorrhagia and rheumatism.
Photographed in Vile Parle, Mumbai.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Pergularia • Hindi: Utaran, Sagovani,

Aakasan, Gadaria Ki bel, Jutak •Marathi: Utarn • Tamil:
Uttamani, Seendhal kodi • Malayalam: Veliparatti • Telugu:
Dustapuchettu, Jittupaku • Kannada: Halokoratige, Juttuve,
Talavaranaballi, Bileehatthi balli • Bengali: Chagalbati,
Ajashringi • Oriya: Utrali • Sanskrit: Uttamarani, Kurutakah,
Visanika, Kakajangha
Botanical name: Pergularia
daemia Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)
Synonyms: Asclepias daemia, Daemia extensa, Cynanchum

Pergularia is a perennial twining herb, foul-smelling when

bruised and with much milky juice, stem hairy. Leaves are
thin, broadly ovate, heart-shaped or nearly circular, hairless
above, velvety beneath. Greenish yellow or dull white, and
sweet-scented flowers are borne in lateral cymes which are at
first corymb-like, afterwards raceme-like. The five petals are
hairy and spreading outwards. Corona outer and inner, outer
truncate, inner curved high over the staminal column, spur
acute. Fruit is a follicle, with soft spines all over and a long
beak. Seeds are densely velvety on both sides. Flowering:
Medicinal uses: Pergularia has been used in folk medicine for
the treatment of liver disorders.
credit: Nandan Photographed in Lodhi Garden & Garden of Five Senses, Delhi.
ative Photo: Shaista Ahmad

Common name: Porcupine flower, Barleria • Hindi: वदं ती

Vajradanti • Tamil: குந்தன் Kundan • Kannada: Mullu goranti
• Malayalam: Kuttivetila • Gujarati: Pilikantashelio
Botanical name: Barleria
prionitis Family: Acanthaceae (ruellia family)

Porcupine flower is an erect, prickly shrub, usually single-

stemmed, growing to about 1.5 m tall. The stems and
branches are stiff and smooth and light brown to light grey in
colour. The leaves are up to 100 mm long and 40 mm wide,
and oval-shaped though narrow at both ends (ellipsoid) The
base of the leaves is protected by three to five sharp, pale
coloured spines, 10-20 mm long. The yellow-orange tubular
flowers are found bunched tightly together at the top of the
plant, but they also occur singly at the base of leaves. The
flowers are 40 mm long and tubular, with several long
protruding stamens. The seed capsule is oval-shaped and 13-
20 mm long, with a sharp pointed beak. It contains two fairly
large, flat seeds, typically 8 mm long by 5 mm wide, covered
with matted hairs. Barleria has a central tap root, with lateral
roots branching off in all directions.
Medicinal uses: It has numerous medicinal properties
including treating fever, respiratory diseases, toothache, joint
pains and a variety of other ailments; and it has several
cosmetic uses. A mouthwash made from root tissue is used to
relieve toothache and treat bleeding gums. The whole plant,
leaves, and roots are used for a variety of purposes in
traditional Indian medicine. For example, the leaves are used
to promote healing of wounds and to relieve joint pains and
toothache. Because of its antiseptic properties, extracts of the
plant are incorporated into herbal cosmetics and hair products
to promote skin and scalp health.

Identification credit: Thingnam Sophia Photographed in Delhi

Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Garlic pear tree, Caper tree, Three-leaf

caper, Obtuse Leaf Crateva •Hindi: Barna, Barni बन, बना
• Manipuri: im  Loiyumba lei • Tamil: Marvilinga •Bengali:
Barun • Sanskrit: वण Varuna • Malayalam: Nir mathalam
• Kannada: Nirvala •Telugu: Voolemara
Botanical name: Crataeva adansonii subsp.
odora Family: Capparaceae (caper family)

A moderate sized deciduous tree found throughout

India, especially along the river banks. Bark grey,
smooth horizontally wrinkled. Leaves trifoliate.
Flowers white, or cream in many flowered terminal
corymbs. The bark is grey, and the wood is
yellowish-white, turning light-brown when old. The
leaves are clustered at the ends of branchlets, with a common
petiole 5 to 10 centimeters long, at the summit of which are
tree leaflets. The leaflets are ovate-lanceolate or ovate, 7.5 to
12 centimeters long, 4 to 6 centimeters wide, and pointed at
the base, with a rather slender point at the tip. The flowers
occur in terminal corymbs, are about 5 centimeters in
diameter, greenish-yellow, and the stamens are purplish. The
petals are ovate or oblong, with the claw half as long as limb.
The fruit is ovoid or rounded, and 3 to 5 centimeters in
diameters, with hard and rough rind. The seeds are about 10
centimeters in length, numerous, kidney-shaped, and
embedded in a yellow pulp.
Medicinal uses: It is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It
has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, lithontriptic, demulcent and
tonic properties. Bark yields ceryl alcohol, friedelin, lupeol,
betulinic acid and diosgenin. It is useful in disorders of urinary
organs, urinary tract infections, pain and burning micturition,
renal and vesical calculi. A postal stamp was issued by the
Indian Postal Department to commemorate this
tree. Photographed in Delhi.
Identification credit: Rita Singh
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Indian kudzu, Nepalese kudzu • Hindi: Sural,
Bilaikand, Bharda, Tirra, Bankumra • Bengali: Shimia batraji
• Marathi: घोडवेल Ghorbel • Gujarati: Vidarikand •Telugu:
Darigummadi • Kannada: Gumadigida • Malayalam: Mutukku
• Sanskrit: Bhukushmandi भकशमंू ु डी
Botanical name: Pueraria tuberosa Family: Fabaceae (pea
Synonyms: Hedysarum tuberosum

Indian kudzu is a large perennial climber with very large

tuberous roots, distributed nearly throughout India, except in
very humid or very arid regions, and ascending up to l,200 m.
Woody stems grow up to 12 cm in diameter. Leaves are
divided into 3 leaflets. The leaflets are egg-shaped, with round
base and unequal sides. They are 18 cm long and 16 cm wide
and are hairless above. Flowers blue or purplish blue, in 15-30
cm long racemes. Pods are flat and 5-7 cm long, densely
clothed with long, silky, bristly brown hairs; seeds 3-6.
Medicinal uses: In Ayurveda, this herb is used as a general
tonic, for headaches, and as a aphrodisiac. The roots are said
to be used in medicine as a demulcent and refrigent in fevers,
as cataplasm for swelling of joints, and as lactagogue. It is
also emetic, galactogogue and tonic. Now a days it is used in
preparing sexual potency enhancement pills.
Identification credit: Pravin
Kawale Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra
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Common name: West Indian Indigo, anil, small-leaved
indigo, Guatemalan indigo, wild indigo • Hindi: वलायती नील
vilayati nil • Marathi: नळं बी nilambi • Tamil: சீைமநலி chimai-
nili • Sanskrit: नी लका nilika, नी लनी nilini, वषशोधनी
Botanical name: Indigofera
suffruticosa Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Indigofera anil

West Indian Indigo is an erect, branched, half-woody shrub,

growing to 1 m tall. The stems are sparsely covered with short
hairs. The leaves are 5-8 cm long. The leaflets are 9-11,
oblong to oblong-elliptic, 1-2 cm long, pale, and hairy beneath.
The flowers are red, about 5 mm long, and borne on axillary
and solitary racemes 2-3 cm long. The pods are numerous,
crowded, reflexed, strongly curved, and 1-1.5 cm long, and
contain 6-8 seeds. This species is one of the sources of natural
indigo, and along with Indigifolera tinctoria, represents the
chief commercial indigo. It is cultivated as green manure in
Malaya and Java. It is used as a perennial cover crop for
coffee. West Indian Indigo is a native of Tropical America, but
widely naturalized in India.
Medicinal uses: In Brazil, West Indian Indigo is one of the
reputed remedies for snake bites, and in the United States it is
often applied to the stings of bees and other insects. In
Mexico, the leaves as a cataplasm or in decoction are applied
to the forehead of children with fever and to any painful area.
The seeds in powder form are a cure for ulcers.
Identification credit: Dinesh
Valke Photographed at Vaghbil, Thane, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Glory Bower, Indian privet, Seaside
clerodendrum, Wild Jasmine, Sorcerers Bush • Hindi: chhoti-
ari, संकु पी sankuppi, sangan-kuppi, vilayati mehendi, batraj
• Marathi: sangam, वनजाई vanajai, sirit-mari • Tamil: சங்கம்
Sangam, Peechangu, அந்ஜl Anjali • Malayalam: nirnochi,
shangam-kuppi • Telugu: erup-pichha, pisangi, pishinika,
takkolapu-chettu • Kannada: naitakkilay, itteru, kundali gida,
naayi tekkake, thakkalika • Bengali: я Banajai • Oriya:
vaя Vanajai • Urdu: ‫ دمدم گــل‬Guldamdam • Sanskrit: कंु डल
Botanical name: Clerodendrum
inerme Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)
Synonyms: Volkameria inermis

Glory bower is a much branched, straggling shrub, 1-2 m tall.

Terminal branches very often twining slender, twigy, dark
green and form dense bush on the river banks and river
slopes. Leaves ovate to elliptical, 5-10 cm long, acute to
acuminate tip, green, smooth, slightly shiny upper surface,
margins entire, leaves opposite, simple. Cymes or umbels
usually comprised of 3 flowers joined at a common base point.
White flowers with a 3.5-5.5 cm long narrow tube ending in 5
petals. Four purple stamens, 1.5-3 cm long, protrude out of
the flower. The plant is tough - akes trimming well, and hence,
is commonly used as a hedge plant in India. It also grows well
on the beach, tolerating all the salty water sprays. Within
India, it is found throughout particularly near coastal regions.
Flowering: November-January.
Identification credit: Radhika Vathsan
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
aturalized Photo: Kiran Srivastava

Common name: Dwarf Morning Glory, Slender Dwarf Morning

Glory • Hindi: Visnukrantha, Shyamakrantha • Marathi:
Vishnukranta • Tamil: Vishnukranthi •Malayalam:
Vishnukranthi • Telugu: Vishnukrantha • Kannada:
Vishnykranti • Sanskrit: Vishnugandhi
Botanical name: Evolvulus
alsinoides Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)
Synonyms: Convolvulus alsinoides

This is a very slender, more or less branched, spreading or

ascending, usually extremely hairy herb. The stems are 20 to
70 centimeters long, and not twining. The leaves, which are
densely clothed with appressed, white, and silky hairs, are
variable clothed, lanceolate to ovate, and usually 0.5 to 1
centimeter in length (but may be larger); the apex is blunt
with a little point and the base is pointed. The flowers are pale
blue and 6-8 mm in diameter. The fruit (capsule) is rounded,
and usually contains 4 seeds. Dwarf Morning Glory is native to
the South America, and is widely naturalized all over the
world, including India.
Medicinal uses: The whole plant is used in the Goa territory.
It is used extensively as a febrifuge and tonic. With cumin and
milk it is used for fevers nervous debility, and loss of memory;
also for syphilis, scrofula, etc. it is said to be a sovereign
remedy for bowel complaints, especially dysentery.
Identification credit: Pravin
Kawale Photographed in Maharashtra & Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Pravir Deshmukh

Common name: Coltsfoot • Garo: Kothamari, Kulamari

• Hindi: Watpan
Botanical name: Tussilago
farfara Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Coltsfoot is a perennial herb propagating by seeds and

rhizomes. It is often found in colonies of dozens of plants. The
flowers, which superficially resemble dandelions, appear in
early spring before dandelions appear. The leaves, which
resemble a colt's foot in cross section, do not appear usually
until after the seeds are set. Thus, the flowers appear on
stems with no apparent leaves, and the later appearing leaves
then wither and die during the season without seeming to set
flowers. The plant is typically 10-30 cm tall. Coltsfoot is found
in the Himalayas at altitudes of 2800-3800 m.
Medicinal uses: Coltsfoot has been used medicinally as a
cough suppressant. The name tussilago itself means "cough
suppressant." The plant has been used historically to treat lung
ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way of
smoking. Crushed flowers supposedly cured skin conditions,
and the plant has been consumed as a food product.
Identification credit: Pravir
Deshmukh Photographed in Lahul Valley, Himachal Pradesh.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Kumarika • Hindi: कमारका
ु Kumarika, Jangli
aushbah, Bhitura • Mizo: Kaitha • Marathi: घोटवेल Ghotvel
• Tamil: ayadi, malaittamarai, tirunamappalai, kal tamarai
• Malayalam: kaltamara, karivilanti • Telugu: Kondadantena
• Kannada: kaadu hambu, kaadu hambu thaavare • Bengali:
k Kumarika • Oriya: mootrilata •Sanskrit:
Botanical name: Smilax ovalifolia Family: Liliaceae (Lily
Synonyms: Smilax macrophylla, Smilax zeylanica

Kumarika is an armed or unarmed climber. Leaves leathery,

shining, 7-15 x 4-11 cm, broadly ovate to elliptic, base
rounded or shortly wedge-shaped; 3-5-nerved. Leaf stalk 1.5
cm long, base sheathing, with tendrils at the end. Flowers
white, in dense umbels in leaf axils, 1-3 on a common
peduncle. Bracts ovate. Perianth recurved in mature flowers,
outer 3 segments, 4 mm long, oblong, inner narrower.
Stamens about as long as the perianth. It is found from the
Himalayan region in the north to Peninsular India. Flowering:
Medicinal uses: The roots of Kumarika are used for veneral
diseases. Also applied in rheumatic swellings and given in
urinary complaints and dysentery.
credit: Prashant Awale Photographed at Tungi, Lonavala, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Wild Guava, Ceylon Oak, Patana Oak
• Hindi: कभी
ु Kumbhi • Marathi: कभा
ु Kumbha • Tamil: Aima,
Karekku, Puta-tanni-maram • Malayalam: Alam, Paer, Peelam,
Pela • Telugu: araya, budatadadimma, budatanevadi,
buddaburija • Kannada: alagavvele, daddal • Bengali:
Vakamba, Kumhi, Kumbhi • Oriya: Kumbh • Khasi: Ka Mahir,
Soh Kundur • Assamese: Godhajam, k Kum, kumari, km
kumbhi • Sanskrit: Bhadrendrani, ग रक ण का Girikarnika,
Kaidarya, कालंद Kalindi
Botanical name: Careya
arborea Family: Lecythidaceae (Brazilnut Family)

Wild Guava is a medium sized deciduous tree, up to 20 m tall,

the leaves of which turn red in the cold season. It is
the Kumbhi of Sanskrit writers, and appear to have been so
named on account of the hollow on the top of the fruit giving it
somewhat the appearance of a water-pot. Wild pigs are very
fond of the bark, and that it is used by hunters to attract
them. An astringent gum exudes from the fruit and stem, and
the bark is made into coarse cordage. The Tamil name Puta-
tanni-maram signifies ”water- bark-tree,” in allusion to the
exudation trickling down the bark in dry weather. Bark surface
flaking in thin strips, fissured, dark grey; crown spreading.
Leaves arranged spirally, often clustered at the apices of twigs,
simple, broadly obovate, tapering at base, margin toothed,
stipules small, caducous. Flowers in an erect raceme at the
end of branches. Flowers are large, white. Sepals are 4, petals
4, free. Stamens are many, connate at base; disk annular;
ovary inferior, 4-5-locular with many ovules in 2 rows per cell,
style 1. Fruit a large, many-seeded drupe, globose to
depressed globose, crowned by the persistent sepals. Seedling
with hypogeal germination; cotyledons absent (seed containing
a swollen hypocotyl); shoot with scales at the first few nodes.
Medicinal uses: The bark of the tree and the sepals of the
flowers are well-known Indian remedies, and are valued on
account of their astringent and mucilaginous properties, being
administered internally in coughs and colds and applied
externally as an embrocation.
Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag
Photographed in Goa.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ntroduced Photo: Sobhapati Samom

Common name: Safflower, Dyers' saffron, False saffron

ु ु •Manipuri: k Kusumlei • Tamil:
• Hindi: Kusum कसम
குஸும்ப Kusumba • Urdu: Gul rang ‫ر نگ گــل‬
Botanical name: Carthamus tinctorius
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Safflower is an annual plant native to the Mediterranean

countries and cultivated in Europe and the U.S. Its glabrous,
branching stem grows from 1 to 3 feet high and bears
alternate, sessile, oblong, or ovate-lanceolate leaves armed
with small, spiny teeth. The orange-yellow flowers grow in
flower heads about 1 to 11/2 inches across. This thistle is
valued for its orange-yellow flowers in summer and for the oil
contained in its seeds. The orange-red flowers of safflower
sometimes serve as a substitute for saffron, since they give a
(rather pale) colour to the food. They are frequently sold as
“saffron” to tourists in Hungary or Northern Africa (and
probably many other parts of the world) Their value as spice is
nearly nil, but their staining capability justifies usage in the
Medicinal uses: Taken hot, safflower tea produces strong
perspiration and has thus been used for colds and related
ailments. It has also been used at times for its soothing effect
in cases of hysteria, such as that associated with chlorosis.
Powdered seeds made into a poultice used to ally inflammation
of the womb after child birth. Flowers of this herb is useful for
Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ntroduced Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Arctic Snow, Winter Cherry Tree, Milky way,

Snowflake, Pudpitchaya, Sweet Indrajao, Hyamaraca
• Sanskrit: Kutajah
Botanical name: Wrightia
antidysenterica Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Nerium antidysentericum, Nerium zeylanicum,
Wrightia zeylanica

Arctic Snow is a small compact and bushy shrub growing up to

1.5 m tall. It blooms non stop all year-round. At full bloom,
plant is covered with 1 inch white flowers that look like little
stars, or with some imagination, snowflakes from a distance.
Leaves are elliptic, glossy, evergreen. Native to Sri Lanka, it
has become a sought after garden plant.
Medicinal uses: The bark possesses anti-microbial and anti-
infammatory properties and therefore the juice extracted from
it is administered for mouth sores. The leaves are used in
treating several skin disorders, psoriasis.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Costus • Hindi: Kuth कठ ु

Botanical name: Saussurea
costus Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Aucklandia costus, Aplotaxis lappa, Saussurea

Costus is a tall perennial herb, well known as a medicinal

plant. Stems up to 2 m tall, or more. Lower leaves are long-
stalked, pinnate, 30-40 cm long, with a trianglular terminal
leaflet, up to 30 cm long. Upper leaves are smaller, up to 30
cm long, stem-clasping. All leaves are irregularly toothed.
There is a rounded cluster of a few purple flower-heads at the
top of the stem. The flower-heads look like balls covered with
purple bracts. Costus is frequently cultivated in the Himalayas
as a medicinal plant. It is found in the Himalayas, from
pakistan to Himachal Pradesh, at altitudes of 2000-3300 m.
Flowering: July-August.
Medicinal uses: Costus is widely used in several indigenous
systems of medicine for the treatment of various ailments, like
asthma, inflammatory diseases, ulcer and stomach problems.
credit: Nongthombam Ulysses Photographed in Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Plumbago, Scarlet leadwort, Rose-colored
Leadwort • Hindi: लाल चक Lal chitrak • Manipuri: 
 Telhidak • Oriya: a Ogni • Bengali: k
t Rakt-chitrak • Tamil: அக்கிந Akkini • Gujarati: કાલોચક
Kalochitrak •Kannada: ತಮಾ Chitramulika • Malayalam:
Kotuveli • Konkani: तांबडी चक Tambdi chitrak
Botanical name: Plumbago
indica Family: Plumbaginaceae (Plumbago family)
Synonyms: Plumbago rosea, Thela coccinea

Lal Chitrak is a plant commonly cultivated in gardens

throughout India. This winter flowering plant begins to show
off its soft red, festive colors in time for winters. A nice change
from the traditional poinsettia, this Indian native continues to
flower for months to come. Lal Chitrak makes an outstanding
container plant for a sunny window. Watch with fascination
how the flowers keep emerging on the same flower spike from
winter until spring. This is an erect or spreading, more or less
branched, herbaceous or half-woody plant 1.5 meters or less
in height. The leaves are ovate to oblong-ovate, 8 to 13
centimeters long, slightly drooping, and smooth, with entire,
undulate or wavy margins, pointed or blunt tip, and pointed
base. The spikes are 15 to 30 centimeters long. The calyx is
tubular, 8 to 10 millimeters long, and covered with stalked,
sticky glands. The corolla is bright red, the tube is slender and
about 2.5 centimeters long, and the limb, which spreads, is
about 3 cm in diameter.
Medicinal uses: The root is acrid, vesicant, abortifacient and
a stimulant. Applied in bland oil, it is used externally or
internally in rheumatism and paralytic afflictions. The root is
powerful sialogogue and a remedy for secondary syphilis,
leprosy and leucoderma. The milky juice of the plant is used in
ophthalmia and in scabies.
Photographed in Alibag, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Thingnam Sophia

Common name: Lavang Lata, Indian lavanga • Hindi: लवंग

लता Lavang Lata • Manipuri:   Lavang Lata • Kannada:
jeeanthi balli, jeevani, kakkola, lavangalathe • Bengali: 
 Lavang Lata • Assamese:   Lavang Lata • Sanskrit:
Lavanga lata, dhankshika, dhira, dhmanksholi, गंधको
gandhakokila, vayastha, lavali, kakoli, kayasthika
Botanical name: Luvunga
scandens Family: Rutaceae (Citrus family)
Synonyms: Limonia scandens

Lavang Lata is a strong woody climber with recurved spines,

native to North-East India. It belongs to the family of lemon
and orange. Unfortunately, it has now become a rare and
endangered species. Leaves are compound, with 3 leaflets
which are lancelike and leathery. Leaf stalks are chanelled.
Peduncles carrying 4-12 pretty large, white, fragrant flowers,
arise from leaf axils. Flowers are shaped like the flowers of
most citrus plants. Fruit is oblong, 2.5 x 2 cm in size,
yellowish, with smooth aromatic peel and resinous, fragrant
pulp. The fruit has 1-3 ovoid seeds. This evergreen plant is
sometimes grown for ornamental purposes. Flowering: March-
Medicinal uses: Dried fruits are used in making medicinal oil.
Roots and fruits are employed for treating scorpion-stings.
Identification credit: Thingnam
Sophia Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Shaista Ahmad

Common name: St Paul's Wort, Indian weed • Hindi:

Lechkuri, Gobariya, Liskura, Lichakura • Marathi: Katampu
• Tamil: Karuntumpai • Nepali: दधे
ु झार Dudhe Jhaar
Botanical name: Sigesbeckia
orientalis Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Siegesbeckia orientalis, Minyranthes heterophylla

St Paul's Wort is a small annual herb, growing up to 2-4 ft tall.

Stem and branches are velvety, purple. Oppositely arranged
leaves, 5-10 cm long, are triangular-ovate, sharp tipped, with
toothed margin. The flowers heads are small with five bracts
just below them, which are covered with very sticky glandular
hairs. The secretion continues till after the fruit is ripe and aids
in its distribution - the whole flower-head breaks off and
attaches itself to some passing animal. The flowering heads
are yellow, small, somewhat rounded, and 5-6 mm in
diameter. The ray flowers are red beneath, very short, curved
back, and 3-toothed. The achenes are each enclosed in a boat-
shaped bractlet which is hairless but slightly rough. St Paul's
Wort is found in India at altitudes of 400-2700 m. Flowering:
Medicinal uses: The juice of the fresh herb is used as a
dressing for wounds, over which, as it dries, it leaves a
varnishing coating. A decoction of the leaves and young shoots
is used as a lotion for ulcers and parasitic skin diseases.
Identification credit: Navendu
Pāgé Photographed in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Hiptage, Helicopter Flower • Hindi: Madhavi
lata माधवी लता • Manipuri:  Madhabi • Kannada: Madhvi
• Bengali:  Madhabilata • Tamil: வசந்தகால
மல்லிைக Vasantakaala malligai
Botanical name: Hiptage benghalensis
Family: Malpighiaceae (Barbados cherry family)

Madhavi lata, native from India to the Philippines, is a vine like

plant that is often cultivated in the tropics for its attractive and
fragrant flowers. A woody climbing shrub with clusters of pink
to white and yellow fragrant flowers and 3-winged, helicopter-
like fruits. Flowers have very interesting shape and look like a
decorative accessory, with fluffy-toothed edges. The fragrance
is very strong and pleasant, resembles fruity perfume. Leaves
are narrow and drooping. This plant can be trimmed as a bush,
and can be crown in container, too. Used medicinally in India.
Make sure to provide lots of light for profuse blooming. The
genus name, Hiptage, is derived from the Greek hiptamai,
which means "to fly" and refers its unique three-winged fruit
known as "samara". The fruit is carried by wind because of its
papery wings.
Medicinal uses: The bark, leaves and flowers are aromatic,
bitter, acrid, astringent, refrigerant, vulnerary, expectorant,
cardiotonic, anti-inflammatory and insecticidal. They are useful
in burning sensation, wounds, ulcers,
cough, asthma. Photographed in Lodhi Garden, Delhi
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Gamhar • Hindi: गहड़ Gamhar • Manipuri:
 Wang • Marathi: शवण Sivan • Tamil: Kumalaamaram
• Malayalam: Kumbil • Telugu: Peddagumudutekku •Kannada:
Shivani • Konkani: Sirni • Sanskrit: Madhumati
Botanical name: Gmelina
arborea Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)

Gamhar is a beautiful fast growing deciduous tree occurring

naturally throughout greater part of India up to 1500 m. It is a
fast growing tree, which though grows on different localities
and prefers moist fertile valleys with 750-4500 mm rainfall. It
does not thrive on ill drained soils and remains stunted on dry,
sandy or poor soils; drought also reduces it to a shrubby form.
The tree attains moderate to large height up to 30 m with girth
of 1.2 to 4.5 m with a clear bole of 9-15 m. It is a treat to see
the gamhar tree standing straight with clear bole having
branches on top and thick foliage forming a conical crown on
the top of the tall stem. Bark light grey coloured exfoliating in
light coloured patches when old, blaze thick, a chlorophyll
layer just under the outer bark, pale yellow white inside.
Flowering takes place during February to April when the tree is
more or less leafless whereas fruiting starts from May onwards
up to June. Flowers occur in narrow branching clusters at the
end of branches. The yellow flower, tinged with brown, is
trumpet shaped, 3-4 cm long. The trumpets flare open into a
gaping mouth with 5 distinct lobes.
Medicinal uses: The root and bark of Gmelina arborea are
stomachic, galactagogue laxative and anthelmintic; improve
appetite, useful in hallucination, piles, abdominal pains,
burning sensations, fevers, ‘tridosha’ and urinary discharge.
Leaf paste is applied to relieve headache and juice is used as
wash for ulcers. Flowers are sweet, cooling, bitter, acrid and
astringent. They are useful in leprosy and blood diseases. In
Ayurveda it has been observed that Gamhar fruit is acrid, sour,
bitter, sweet, cooling, diuretic tonic, aphrodisiac, alternative
astringent to the bowels, promote growth of hairs, useful in
‘vata’, thirst, anaemia, leprosy, ulcers and vaginal discharge.
The plant is recommended in combination with other drugs for
the treatment of snake – bite and scorpion- sting. In snake –
bite a decoction of the root and bark is given internally.
Identification credit: Pravin
Kawale Photographed in Delhi & Imphal, Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Malabar Catmint • Hindi: Gopoli, Codhara
• Marathi: गोिजभा Gojibha •Tamil: Peyimarutti • Malayalam:
Perumtumpa, Karintumpa • Telugu: Moga-biran, Mogabheri
• Kannada: ಕತುೕ Karitumbi, Gandubirana gida • Oriya:
v Vaikuntha •Konkani: Kaktumbo • Sanskrit: महा ोणः
Mahadronah, वैकंु ठः Vaikunthah
Botanical name: Anisomeles
malabarica Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Anisomeles salviifolia, Nepeta malabarica

Malabar Catmint is a shrubby herb, 0.5-1.5 m tall. Stems are

tetragonous, densely villous or woolly. Leaves are ovate to
oblong, 3-8 cm x 1.5-3 cm, densely woolly beneath, sparsely
hirsute above, hairs 4-celled, petiole 0.5-2.5 cm long, softly
woolly. Inflorescence is a single terminal spike, calyx 8.5 mm x
6 mm, longest teeth 3-4 mm long, in fruit 8-10 mm long,
teeth hairy inside. Flower up to 1.8 cm long, lower lip about 12
mm x 4 mm, lilac or pale blue, filaments almost at same level,
about 8 mm long, style about 1.3 cm long. Nutlets are
cylindrical, 1.3 mm x 0.9 mm.
Medicinal uses: The whole plant, especially the leaves and
the roots are used as astringent, carminative, febrifuge and
Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed in Nagpur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Indian Tree of Heaven, Coramandel ailanto
• Hindi: महानंब Mahanimb, महाख Maharukh • Marathi: मख
Marukh, माहख Mahrukh, महान
ब mahanimb • Tamil: Agal,
ெபருமரம் Perumaram, perumaruntu • Malayalam:
Mattipongilyam,  Peru,  Perumaram • Telugu:
pedda, peddamandu, peddamanu • Kannada: Bende,
dodabevu, dodda • Oriya: mundayigatch • Sanskrit: aralu,
araluka, araluvrksa
Botanical name: Ailanthus
excelsa Family: Simaroubaceae (Quassia family)

Indian Tree of Heaven is a large deciduous tree, 18-25 m tall;

trunk straight, 60-80 cm in diameter; bark light grey and
smooth, becoming grey-brown and rough on large trees,
aromatic, slightly bitter. Leaves alternate, pinnately
compound, large, 30-60 cm or more in length; leaflets 8-14 or
more pairs, long stalked, ovate or broadly lance shaped from
very unequal base, 6-10 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, often curved,
long pointed, hairy gland; edges coarsely toothed and often
lobed. Flower clusters droop at leaf bases, shorter than leaves,
much branched; flowers many, mostly male and female on
different trees, short stalked, greenish-yellow. Five sepals, 5
narrow petals spreading 6 mm across. Fruit a 1-seeded
samara, lance shaped, flat, pointed at ends, 5 cm long, 1 cm
wide, copper red, strongly veined, twisted at the base The
genus name Ailanthus comes from ailanthos(tree of heaven),
the Indonesian name for Ailanthus moluccana. Flowering:
Medicinal uses: Bark used in India as a powerful fever-cure
and tonic. Leaves and bark in good repute as a tonic after
labor, and the juice of the leaves and fresh bark employed by
the Konkans as a remedy for after-pains.

Photographed at Nehru Park, Delhi.

ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Karvy • Hindi: Maruadana • Manipuri: 

Khum • Marathi: कारवी Karvy
Botanical name: Strobilanthes
callosus Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)
Synonyms: Carvia callosa

Karvy is a purplish-blue wild flower, which blooms once every

seven years. The plant was first discovered by Nees, a resident
Britisher of Mumbai in the last century. The Karvy plant grows
wild around Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Parts of Gujarat and in
large areas of Konkan and North Kannara Ghats. It is a shrub
growing 2-6 m tall. Oppositely arranged, elliptic-lancelike
toothed leaves are 10-20 cm long. Each year the plant comes
alive with the advent of Monsoon,and once the rains are over,
what is left behind is dry and dead-looking stems.This pattern
repeats itself for seven years. In the seventh year, the plant
explodes into mass flowering. The Karvy plant has many uses
as well.
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Sessile Joyweed, Dwarf copperleaf, Joyweed

• Hindi: Garundi, Guroo •Manipuri: Phakchet • Marathi:
Kanchari • Tamil: Ponnanganni • Malayalam: Ponnankannikkira
• Telugu: Ponnagantikura • Kannada: Honagonne • Oriya:
Madaranga •Konkani: Koypa • Sanskrit: Matsyaksi
Botanical name: Alternanthera
sessilis Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)

Sessile Joyweed is a perennial herb, often found in and near

ponds, canals and reservoirs. It prefers places with constant or
periodically high humidity and so may be found in swamps,
shallow ditches, and fallow rice fields. A much branched
prostrate herb, branches often purplish, frequently rooting at
the lower nodes; leaves simple, opposite, somewhat fleshy,
lanceolate, oblanceolate or linear-oblong, obtuse or subacute,
sometimes obscurely denticulate, glabrous, shortly petiolate;
flowers small, white, in axillary clusters; fruits compressed
obcordate utricles, seeds suborbicular.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Spanish cherry • Hindi: Maulsari मौलसर
• Urdu: Kirakuli कराकल
ु •Manipuri: k  Bokul lei • Tamil:
மகிழம்பூ Magizhamboo • Malayalam: Ilanni •Bengali: Bakul
• Marathi: Bakuli • Konkani: Omval • Kannada: Ranjal
• Gujarati: Barsoli
Botanical name: Mimusops
elengi Family: Sapotaceae (Mahua family)

Spanish cherry is a lovely green small tree of the Indian

subcontinent. With its small shiny, thick, narrow, pointed
leaves, straight trunk and spreading branches, it is a prized
oranamental specimen because it provides a dense shade and
during the months from March to July fills the night air with
the delicious heady aroma of its tiny cream colored flowers.
Flowers are small, star-shaped, yellowish white in color, with a
crown rising from the center. Oval leaves, wavy at margin,
about 5-16 cm and 3-7 cm wide. In the morning the fragrant
flowers which so graciously scented their surroundings with
their deep, rich, fragrance during the evening hours, fall to the
ground. People love to collect them as they retain their odor
for many days after they fall. They are offered in temples and
shrines throughout the country. Appears in Indian mythology
as Vakula - said to put forth blossoms when sprinkled with
nectar from the mouth of lovely women. Fruits are eaten
Medicinal uses: Various parts of the tree have medicinal
properties. It is used in the treatment and maintenance of oral
hygiene. Rinsing mouth with water solution made with bakul
helps in strengthening the teeth. It also prevents bad breath
and helps keep the gums healthy.
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Sweet Broom Weed, Sweet Broom Wort

• Hindi: मीठ पती Mithi patti, घॊड़ा तलसी
ु Ghoda tulsi • Tamil:
Sarakkotthini • Bengali:   Bon dhonya
Botanical name: Scoparia
dulcis Family: Scrophulariaceae (Dog flower family)

Sweet Broom Weed is a branched herb with wiry stems,

growing up to 1 m tall. Narrowly elliptic, almost stalkless
leaves are arranged oppositely or in whorls of 3. Leaves are 3-
4 X 1-1.5 cm wide, with serrated margins. Small white, hairy
flowers occur in leaf axils. The stamens are greenish and the
ovary is green. The capsule is nearly round.
Medicinal uses: It is traditionally used in treatment of
diabetes, dysentery, earache, fever, gonorrhea, headaches,
jaundice, snake bite, stomach problems, toothache, warts.
Identification credit: Dinesh Valke
Photographed in Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Kidney Leaf Morning Glory • Hindi: Musakani

• Marathi: उं दर कानी Undirkani • Tamil: Elikkadhu-keerai
• Telugu: Elikajemudu
Botanical name: Merremia
gangetica Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)
Synonyms: Merremia emarginata, Convolvulus reniformis,
Ipomoea reniformis

This is a slender, prostates, creeping, smooth or somewhat

hairy herb. The stems root at the nodes, and are 10-80 cm in
length. The leaves are small, kidney-shaped to somewhat
heart-shaped, 6-15 mm long, often wider than long, and
irregularly toothed. One to three flowers occur on short stalks
in the axils of the leaves. The sepals are rounded and about 4
mm long, with few to many white, weak hairs. The corolla is
yellow, and nearly twice as long as the calyx. The capsule is
rounded and about 5 mm in diameter.
Medicinal uses: In the Philippines the decocted leaves and
tops are sometimes employed as a diuretic.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: J. M. Garg

Common name: Madras Carpet • Hindi: Mustaru, Bhediachim

• Manipuri:  Leibungou • Marathi: Mashipatri • Tamil:
Masipathri • Malayalam: Nilampala • Telugu:   Mastaru
• Kannada: Davana • Bengali: Namuti • Gujarati: Jhinkimudi
Botanical name: Grangea
maderaspatana Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Artemisia maderaspatana, Perdicium tomentosum

Madras Carpet is a herb commonly seen in flat bunches in

harvested fields, dry river and pond beds. This hairy, branched
herb spreads from the roots and grows up to 70 cm in height.
The buds are white and woolly. The leaves are alternate,
stalkless, deeply cut, and divided into toothed lobes. Yellow
flowering heads are borne opposite the leaves, and are short-
stalked, rounded, and 8-10 mm across. The flowers are small,
very numerous. The involucral-bracts are ovate, thick, rigid,
and hairy. The achenes are cylindric, glandular, and about 2
mm long. The papus-hairs are connate, ending in a short,
fimbriate tube.
Medicinal uses: Leaves are regarded in India as a valuable
stomachic possessing deobstruent and antispasmodic
properties, and are prescribed as an infusion and an electuary
in cases of obstructed menses and hysteria.
Identification credit: Neil
Soares & Shrikant Photographed at Himmat Sagar Lake, Hyderabad.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Indian Wormwood, Fleabane, Mugwort

• Hindi: नागदोना Nagdona, दवना Davana • Manipuri: i 
Leibakngou • Marathi: ढोरदवना Dhordavana, Gondhomaro
•Tamil: மக்கீ பூ Makkippu • Malayalam: k
 Masipatri • Telugu: Masipatri
• Kannada: Manjepatre, Urigattige • Bengali: 
• Oriya: Dayona • Konkani: Surpin • Assamese:  Nilum
• Sanskrit: नागदमन Nagadaman, दमनक Damanak
Botanical name: Artemisia
nilagirica Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisia vulgaris var.

Indian Wormwood is an aromatic shrub, 1-2 m high, yellow or

dark red small flowers, grows throughout India in hills up to
2400 m elevation. This medicinal herb is erect, hairy, often
half-woody. The stems are leafy and branched. The leaves are
pinnately lobed, 5-14 cm long, gray beneath. Mugwort
blossoms with reddish brown or yellow flowers. The flowers are
freely small and stand in long narrow clusters at the top of the
stem. The fruit (achene) is minute. It is believed that Indian
Wormwood drives away insects. So the leaves and flowers are
put in boxes and cupboards.
Medicinal uses: In Manipur, leaves are used to prepare a
local hair-care lotion Chinghi.
Identification credit: Prashant
Awale Photographed at Nimgiri, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Cobra saffron, Ceylon ironwood, Indian rose

chestnut • Hindi: नाग चपा Nag champa, नागकेसर Nagkesar
• Urdu: न म क Narmishka • Tamil: Tadinangu • Marathi:
Thorlachampa • Malayalam: Vainavu • Assamese: k Nokte
• Manipuri:  Nageshor
Botanical name: Mesua ferrea
Family: Clusiaceae (Garcinia family)

A handsome Indian evergreen tree often planted as an

ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume;
source of very heavy hardwood used for railroad ties. In olden
time, the very hard timber was used for making lances. It is a
small to medium-sized evergreen tree up to 13 m tall, often
buttressed at the base with a trunk up to 90 cm in diameter. It
has simple, narrow, oblong, dark green leaves 7-15 cm long,
with a whitish underside; the emerging young leaves are red
to yellowish pink and drooping. The flowers are 4-7.5 cm
diameter, with four white petals and a centre of numerous
yellow stamens. The flowers have many uses - they are used
to make an incense and also used to stuff pillows in some
countries. It is the National tree of Sri Lanka.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are applied to the head in the
form of a poultice for severe colds. Oil from the seeds is used
for sores, scabies, wounds, and rheumatism. The root of this
herb is often used as an antidote for snake poison. The dried
flowers are used for bleeding hemorrhoids and dysentery with
mucus. Fresh flowers are also prescribed for excessive thirst,
excessive perspiration, cough, and
for indigestion. Photographed in Sundar Nursery, Delhi
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Umbrella Sedge, Nutgrass, Nutsedge, Purple
Nutsedge • Hindi: नागरमोथा Nagarmotha • Marathi: lawala
• Tamil: koraikkilangu, nakamuttakkacu •Malayalam:
korakizhanna • Telugu: kolatungamuste, tungagaddalaveru
• Kannada: konnarigadda, nagarmusthe • Urdu: Nagarmotha,
Sadkofi • Sanskrit: chakranksha, charukesara,
chudalapindamusta, kachharuha, kalapini, nadeyi, nagar-
Botanical name: Cyperus
scariosus Family: Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Umbrella Sedge is a perennial herb, about a meter tall, arising

from rhizomes and tubers. The stems are 3-sided and
triangular in cross section and there is an umbrella-like tuft of
long narrow leaves at the top. The leaves are yellow to green
in color with a distinct ridge. The plant has red-brown flower
spikelets with up to 40 individual flowers. The dried tuberous
roots are collected, dried and used in traditional medicine.
Nutgrass is used in hair - and skin care products. It stimulates
sebaceous glands near hair roots. Also interesting is that the
oil, an amber viscous liquid, extracted from this plant is used
in perfumery.
Medicinal uses: The tubers are credited with astringent,
diaphoretic, diuretic, dessicant, cordial and stomachic
properties. A decoction of the tuber is used for washing hair,
treating gonorrhea and syphilis. It is also given in diarrhea and
for general weakness.
Photographed in Lodhi Garden, Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Ranabili • Hindi: Nalbila • Marathi: Ranabili,
Gudmai • Tamil: Puilipan cheddi • Malayalam: Kaipanarangi,
Potti, Pulippanchedi • Kannada: Narsullu, Chitunde, Karbe
• Urdu: Ranabili
Botanical name: Cipadessa
baccifera Family: Meliaceae (Neem family)
Synonyms: Melia baccifera, Cipadessa fruticosa

Ranabili is a shrub 1-4 m tall, with coarse bark. Young

branches are grayish brown, ribbed, and covered with yellow
velvety hairs and sparse grayish white lenticels. Leaves are
compound, 8-30 cm long, with leaf-stalk and spine either
hairless or yellow velvety. Leaflets are usually 9-13, opposite,
ovate to ovoid-oblong, 3.5-10 × 1.5-5 cm. Flowers are born in
clusters 8-15 cm long. Flowers are white, 3-4 mm in diameter.
Flower stalks are 1-1.5 mm long. Sepal cup is short, yellow
velvety outside. Sepals are broadly triangular. Petals are white
or yellow, linear to oblong-elliptic, 2-3.5 mm, outside covered
with sparse appressed velvety hairs. Stamens are shorter than
petals, with hairy filaments. Fruit is purple to black when
mature, round, 4-5 mm in diameter. Flowering: April-October.
Medicinal uses: Juice of the root is given in cases of
indigestion. It is also used in treating cough and cold. A paste
of bark is pressed against the teeth for about 15 mins to
relieve bleeding and swelling of gums.
credit: Navendu Pāgé & Photographed at Cauvery riverside, Bangalore.
Shaista Ahmad
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Oval Leaf Pondweed, Oval Leaf Monochoria,
Marshy betelvine • Hindi: ननका Nanka, इंदवर Indivar • Marathi:
Nelat-phal • Tamil: Karimkuvalam • Malayalam:
Karinkuvvalam • Telugu: Nirakancha • Kannada: Neelothpala
• Bengali: nukha •Assamese: nara meteka • Sanskrit: इंदवरः
Botanical name: Monochoria
vaginalis Family: Pontederiaceae (Pickerel weed family)

Oval Leaf Pondweed is an attached aquatic annual or perennial

herb with emersed leaves, to 50 cm tall. More widespread than
M. hastata, it is a serious weed of rice fields. Leaves variable -
2-12.5 cm long, 0.5-10 cm wide, in very young plants without
lamina; leaves of somewhat older plants with a floating linear
or lanceolate blade; leaves of still older plants, ovate-oblong to
broadly ovate, sharply acuminate, the base heart-shaped or
rounded, shiny, deep green in color. Inflorescence spikelike,
basally opposite the sheath of the floral leaf, with a large bract
arising from a thickened bundle on leaf stalk, about two-thirds
of the way up the stalk from the base. Flowers 3-25, opening
simultaneously or in quick succession, on pedicels 4-25 mm
long. Petals six, violet or lilac blue, spreading at flowering,
afterwards spirally contorted. As is typical of many aquatic
annuals, plant size, leaf shape, and flower number are highly
variable in relation to the amount of water. The entire plant
(except the roots) is eaten as a vegetable in India, and the
roots are used medicinally. Flowering: August-March.
Medicinal uses: Oval Leaf Pondweed is used in Ayurvedic,
Unani and folklore medicine. The root is used for toothache
and the bark is eaten with sugar for asthma.

Photographed at Rajamalai National park, Kerala.

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Common name: Chaste Tree • Hindi: नगुडी Nirgundi, संदवार
sindvar • Manipuri: Urik shibi • Tamil: Nocchi • Malayalam:
Vennocchi • Telugu: Vavili • Kannada: Nochi •Bengali:
Nishinda • Sanskrit: Sinduvara, Indrani, Nilanirgundi • Urdu:
Sambhalu, Tukhm sambhalu
Botanical name: Vitex
negundo Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)

Chaste tree can be described as a cross between a shrub and a

tree with a single woody stem (trunk). It can grow up to five
meters tall. Chaste tree's distinctive feature are the pointed
leaves with 3-5 leaflets. Small, lilac or violet flowers on new
growth from June to September. Flowers are the smallest of
the commonly grown Vitex species. The leaves are used as a
mosquito repellent . leaves are burnt in a heap which proves
very useful to get rid of Mosquitoes.
Medicinal uses: It is an effective herbal medicine with proven
therapeutic value. Chaste tree has been clinically tested to be
effective in the treatment of colds, flu, asthma and pharyngitis.
Studies have shown that it can prevent the body's production
of leukotrienes which are released during an asthma attack.
Chaste tree contains Chrysoplenol D, a substance with anti-
histamine properties and muscle relaxant. The leaves, flowers,
seeds and root of Chaste tree can all be used as herbal
medicine. A decoction is made by boiling the parts of the plant
and taken orally. Today, Chaste tree is available in capsule
form and syrup for cough.
Identification credit: K.
Karthigeyan Photographs from Manipur & Tamil Nadu.
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Snake Jasmine, Dainty Spurs • Hindi:

ू Palakjuhi, जहपानी
ू Juhipani • Marathi: गजकण Gajkarni
• Tamil: Uragamalli, நாகமல்l Nagamalli •Malayalam:
 Nagamulla, Puzhukkolli • Telugu:  Nagamalle
• Kannada: ಾಗಮೆ Nagamallige, Doddapatike • Bengali:
я Juipana • Konkani: Dadmari •Urdu: Palakjuhi • Sanskrit:
Yudhikaparni, Yoodhikaparni
Botanical name: Rhinacanthus
nasutus Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)
Synonyms: Rhinacanthus nasuta, Justicia nasuta,
Rhinacanthus communis

Native to India, this useful plant is a slender, erect, branched,

somewhat hairy shrub 1-2 m in height. The leaves are oblong,
4-10 cm in length, and narrowed and pointed at both ends.
The inflorescence is a spreading, leafy, hairy panicle with the
flowers usually in clusters. The calyx is green, hairy, and about
5 mm long. The corolla-tube is greenish, slender, cylindric, and
about 2 cm long. The flowers is 2-lipped; the upper lip is
white, erect, oblong or lancelike, 2-toothed at the apex, and
about 3 mm in both length and width; and the lower lip is
broadly obovate, 1.1-1.3 cm in both measurements, 3-lobed,
and white, with a few, minute, brownish dots near the base.
The fruit (capsule) is club-shaped and contains 4 seeds.
Medicinal uses: In India the fresh root and leaves, bruised
and mixed with lime juice, are a useful remedy for ringworm
and other skin affections. The seeds also are efficacious in
ringworm. The root-bark is a remedy for dhobie’s itch. In Sind
it is said to possess extraordinary aphrodisiacal powers, the
roots boiled in milk being much employed by Hindu
practitioners. The roots are believed n some parts of India to
be an antidote to the bites of poisonous snakes.
Identification credit: Prashant
Awale Photographed in Chembur, Mumbai.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Slender Oldenlandia • Hindi: पापेर भेद Paper-
bhed • Kannada: kaag purale • Malayalam: n 
Nonnanampullu, scanganam-pulli • Sanskrit: छायापप
Chhayaparpatika • Tamil: ெநாந்நாநம் பல்லூ nonnanampullu
• Telugu: chiriveru, thella nela vaemu, verri nelavaemu
Botanical name: Oldenlandia
herbacea Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee family)
Synonyms: Hedyotis herbacea

Slender Oldenlandia is an erect much branched hairless bushy

herb. Branches are slender, wiry, widely diverging. Oppositely
arranged stalkless leaves are linear- lanceshaped, usually with
curled-back margins. Lower leaves are broader than the upper
ones. Flowers are tiny and appear singly or in groups of few,
on slender long stalks, in leaf axils. Flower tube is slender with
4 spreading petals. Flowers are up to 5 mm in diameter, white
or mauve. Fruits are round capsules.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Indian tulip tree, Aden apple, Portia tree
• Hindi: Paras pipal पारस पीपल • Malayalam: Puvarasu
• Bengali: Palaspipal • Tamil: பூவரசு Puvarasu
Botanical name: Thespesia populnea
Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)

This is a good tree for small gardens or patios. Its name

Thespesia means "divinely decreed" and was given by Daniel
Solander who saw it in Tahiti as a member of Captain Cook's
ship. Indian tulip tree is an evergreen bushy tree. It grows to
40 ft or more with a spread of 10–20 ft. It has heart-shaped
leaves and cup-shaped yellow flowers that are produced
intermittently throughout the year in warm climates. Each
flower has a maroon eye that ages to purple. The flowers are
followed by apple-shaped fruit.
Medicinal uses: Ground up bark is used to treat skin diseases
(India), dysentery and haemorrhoids (Mauritius) Leaves are
applied to inflamed and swollen joints (South India)
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Stone Flower • Hindi: चरे ला Charela, पथरफॊड़ी
Pattharphori • Sanskrit: शला पप
ु Shila pushp, शांतपपी

Shantapushpi, पाषाणभेद Pasanbheda • Nepali: कम
ु Kum
Botanical name: Didymocarpus
pedicellatus Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)
Synonyms: Didymocarpus pedicellata

The name Stone Flower, and various local names, probably

come from the plant's believed efficacy in curing kidney
stones, or probably because it occurs on rocks. It is a usually
stemless plant of damp rocks, with 2 large basal leaves with
long stalks. Leaves are roundly ovate, rounded toothed. Many
reddish purple flowers, 2.5 cm long, occur in clusters, at the
end of erect flowering stems, which are about 20 cm tall.
Ovate bracts are often fused below. Colored, rounded sepals
form a funnel shaped tube. The flower tube is narrow cylindric
with a flaring mouth consisting of 5 rounded petals. Capsule is
linear, beaked. Occurs in the Himalayas, from Himachal
Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh, at altitudes of 500-2500 m.
Flowering: July-September.
Medicinal uses: Stone Flower is a valuable, although a lesser
known medicinal plant. Traditionally Stone Flower is used in
the treatment of renal diseases particularly kidney stones.
According to a hypothesis the plant is supposed to regulate
calcium absorption in the body. The plant is known for its
diuretic effect and in maintaining
healthy urinary tract. Photographed in Dhanaulti, Uttar Pradesh.
Identification credit: Pankaj Kumar
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Common name: Cuban Oregano, Indian borage, Indian mint,
Mexican mint, Mexican oregano, Spanish thyme • Hindi:
पथरचरू Patharchur, पता अजवाइन Patta ajwain •Marathi: पथरचरू
Pathurchur • Tamil: கபூரவல்l Karpuravalli • Malayalam:
Panikkurkka, Kannikkurkka • Telugu: Sugandhavalkam,
к Karpoora valli, karuvaeru, vamu aaku • Kannada:
karpurahalli, dodda pathre, dodda pathre soppu, karpoora valli
• Sanskrit: कपरू वल Karpuravalli, Sugandhavalakam
Botanical name: Plectranthus
amboinicus Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Coleus amboinicus, Coleus aromaticus,
Plectranthus aromaticus

Cuban Oregano is a sprawling and somewhat succulent herb,

growing to 1 m tall. The plant is sometimes prostrate at base,
with the branchlets rising up, densely hairy. Leaves have
stalks 1-4.5 cm long, densely velvety, like most mint family
plants. Leaf blade is fleshy, broadly ovate to circular, rhombic,
or kidney-shaped, 4-10 cm long, 3-9 cm broad, coarsely
toothed at margin or entire toward base. Flowers are borne in
10-20-flowered, densely velvety spikes, 10-20 cm long. Flower
stalks are slender, up to 5 mm long. Sepal cup is bell-shaped,
1.5-4 mm long. Flowers are pale blue or mauve to pink, 8-12
mm long - the upper lip is up to 4.5 x 3 mm, erect, the lower
lip up to 5-6 x 4 mm, concave. Filaments of stamens are
mostly fused into a tube around style. The origin of Cuban
Oregano is unknown - it is widely cultivated world-wide. The
leaves are strongly flavoured and make an excellent addition
to stuffings for meat and poultry. Finely chopped, they can
also be used to flavour meat dishes, especially beef, lamb and
Medicinal uses: The leaves have also had many traditional
medicinal uses, especially for the treatment of coughs, sore
throats and nasal congestion, but also for a range of other
problems such as infections, rheumatism and flatulence. In
Indonesia Cuban Oregano is a traditional food used in soup to
stimulate lactation for the month or so following childbirth.
Identification credit: Narendra
Joshi Photographed at Satara, Maharashtra.
ative Photo: Prashant Awale

Common name: Frilly Lepidagathis • Gujarati: Hiran-chaaro,

Paniru • Hindi: पथरफोड़ बट

ू Pathar-phor buti, Safed Raasnaa

Botanical name: Lepidagathis
trinervis Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)

Frilly Lepidagathis is a prostrae to suberect undershrub, up to

a foot tall. Twigs are quardrangular, bristly or glabrous twigs,
arising from a woody rootstock. Leaves are sessile, linear to
narrowly lanceshaped, 2-4.5 cm long, 3-5 mm broad, hairless,
3-nerved from the base, lateral nerves weaker than midrib and
run along entire margin. Flowers are light pink, in dense, one-
sided stalkless oblong-ovoid spikes, 1-2 cm long, in leaf axils.
The spikes are fascicled near rootstock or a little higher up.
Flowers have a frilly appearance because of the long, spine-
tipped bracts. Bracts are ovate or elliptic-ovate, 4-5 x 2.5-3
mm, with a 3.5-4.5 mm long recurved spine at the tip.
Bracteoles are nearly as long as long bracts, outer oblong-
lanceshaped, long-pointed, inner wedge-shaped, membranous.
Sepals are 5, 7-8 mm long, membranous, pointed but not
spine-tipped. Flowers are spotted inside, 5-6 mm long, densely
long silky hairy in bud, upper lip slightly notched, lower lip with
3, patent obtuse lobes. Capsule is ovoid-lanceshaped, 5-6 mm
long, 2-seeded, hairless. Flowering: September-February.
Medicinal uses: The plant is used as a bitter tonic. It is used
for rheumatic affections.
credit: Prashant Awale Photographed at Irshalgad, near Panvel, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: J. M. Garg

Common name: Patthar Suva • Hindi: Patthar-suva, seri

• Kannada: parpataka, kallu suseege, parpaataka, ghattarasva
• Marathi: phattar-suva, seri, patharasuva • Sanskrit: Charak,
Parpata, Pithari, Renu • Tamil: parapalanam • Telugu:
Botanical name: Glossocardia
bosvallia Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Verbesina bosvallia

Patthar Suva is a small annual herb, 10-20 cm tall. The plant is

branched from the base and the branches are grooved.
Alternately arranged leaves, 1.5 cm long, are pinnately cut in
to linear segments. Yellow flowers are borne in heads carried
on slender stalks, in leaf axils or at the end of branches. Outer
3 bracts are 3 mm long, 3 inner ones are 7 mm long, striped.
Seedpods are 6 mm, brown, hairy. Flowering: August-
Medicinal uses: Pithari plant is used as an emmenagogue in
medicine. In Ayurveda, the plant is used as a substitute
for Oldenlandia corymbosa. The tribal inhabitants of western
Maharashtra use a decoction of the plant as febrifuge. A paste
of the fresh Pithari plant is applied to promote healing of sores
and wounds. It has a bitter taste and fennel like odour.
Besides serving as a medicinal plant Pithari plant is also used
in culinary purposes. People of some states in India take
Pithari plant as a vegetable.
Identification credit: Rani
Bhagat Photographed in Keesaragutta, Andhra Pradesh.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Chinese Wedelia • Hindi: पीला भंगरा

Pilabhangara, Bhanra • Marathi: पवला भंगरा Pivala-Bhangra
• Tamil: Manjalkarilamkanni, Patalai kayyantakarai
•Malayalam: Mannakkannunni • Telugu: Guntagalagara
• Kannada: Gargari, Kalsarji •Bengali: Bhimra • Konkani:
Birimgarsi • Sanskrit: पीत ंग Pitabhrnga, Pitabhrngarajah
Botanical name: Wedelia
chinensis Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Solidago chinensis

Chinese Wedelia is a tender, spreading, and hairy herb, with

the branches usually less than 50 cm long. The leaves are
oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 2-4.5 cm in length, and narrowed
at both ends. The margins are entire or obscurely toothed; and
both surfaces are covered with sharp-pointed, appressed,
straight, and stiff hairs. The heads are stalked, about 1 cm in
diameter, and yellow. The involucral bracts are oblong-ovate.
The ray flowers are 8-12, spreading, about equal to the bracts,
and broad; the disk flowers number about 20, and are short,
narrow, and pointed. The achenes are nearly cylindric, and
Medicinal uses: The leaves are used in dyeing grey hair and
in promoting the growth of hair. They are considered tonic,
alternative, and useful in coughs, cephalalgia, skin diseases,
and alopecia. The juice of the leaves is much used as a snuff in
cephalalgia. The seeds and flowers, as well as the leaves, are
used in decoction, in the quantity of half of teacupful twice
daily, as a deobstruent. In decoction, the plant is used in
uterine haemorrhage and menorrhagia.
Identification credit: Akramul Hoque Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Yellow Jasmine, Italian Jasmine • Hindi: पील
चमेल Peeli chameli •Nepali: मसनो जाई Masino Jaai
Botanical name: Jasminum
humile Family: Oleaceae (Jasmine family)
Synonyms: Jasminum wallichianum, Jasminum revolutum,
Jasminum pubigerum

Yellow Jasmine is a small erect much-branched shrub, growing

to 1 m or more tall, commonly found in the Himalayan region.
It has green, angular branches. Leaves are pinnate with 3-7
ovate to lancelike leathery leaflets. The last leaflet is
somewhat larger. Inflorescences are lax clusters of yellow
tubular flowers at the end of branches. Flowers have a slender
tube, 1-2 cm long, with 5 rounded spreading petals, about 6
mm. Sepal tube is cup shaped, only 3 mm in size, with tiny
triangular sepals. Fruit is black berry, 8 mm in size, with
crimson juice. Flowering: April-June.
Medicinal uses: The flowers are astringent and a tonic for the
heart and bowels. A paste made frm the flowers is considered
effective in the treatment of intestinal problems. The juice of
the root is used in the treatment of ringworm. The milky juice
of the plant is used for destroying the unhealthy lining walls of
chronic sinuses and fistulas.
Photographed in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Climbing Nettle, Indian Stinging Nettle,
Canchorie root-plant •Assamese: dumuni chorat • Bengali:
  bichuti • Hindi: बढत barhanta, पीत पण pit parni
• Kannada: ತುೆ ಬ turike balli • Malayalam: 
coriyanam • Marathi: आग पान aag paan, आ या aagya, कळलावी
kallaavi, लघमे ं laghumedhshingi • Nepali: उट कटे र ut kateri
ु डशगी
• Oriya: kasalakku • Sanskrit: आगमावता aagmavarta, दः"पष

duhsparsha, कषाि नः kashagnih, वि%चका'छद
ृ vrischikacchad,
ृ vrischikali, वि%चकाप*ी
ृ vrischikapatri • Tamil:
காஞ்ெசாறி kanchori • Telugu: 
Botanical name: Tragia
involucrata Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Climbing Nettle is a perennial twinning herb, covered with

stinging hairs. Alternately arranged leaves are oblong-
lanceolate or ovate, toothed, base heart-shaped or rounded,
tip long pointed. Flowers are borne in racemes in leaf axils.
Female flowers are few, in lower part of inflorescence; male
flowers ae many in the upper part. Fruit is a 3-lobed capsule,
containing 3 round smooth seeds.
Medicinal uses: Roots are useful in pruritic skin eruptions,
veneral diseases, diabetes, guinea worms. Leaves are
supposed to be good for cephalagia.
credit: Dinesh Valke & Photographed at Lonavala & Kas, Satara, Maharashtra.
Prashant Awale
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Phalsa फालसा (Hindi, Urdu, Marathi), Phulsha
(Kannada), Phutiki (Telugu), Pharaho (Sindhi), Phalsi
(Konkani), Shukri (Gujarati), Mriduphal दफल
ु (Sanskrit),
Pharosakoli (oriya), Chadicha (Malayalam), Unnu (Tamil)
Botanical name: Grewia asiatica Family: Tiliaceae (phalsa

Phalsa is a shrub or small tree which can grow upto 12 feet

high. Its bark is greyish-white or greyish-brown. Leaves with
serrated margins vary from broadly heart-shaped to obliquely
ovate. The flowers are yellow about 2 centimeters in length,
and borne in densely crowded (rarely solitary) axillary cymes.
The fruit is edible, rounded, small dark blue to almost black
when ripe, sweetish and somewhat acid, with a fairly good
flavor and each drupe contains a rather large seed. The fruit is
eaten raw with relish and sold in Delhi lanes in summers, with
great enthusiasm by singing hawkers.
Medicinal uses: The fruit is supposed to possess astringent,
cooling and stomachic properties. A spirit is distilled and a
pleasant sherbet is made from it.
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Common name: Long Pepper, Indian long pepper • Hindi:
पपल Pipli • Marathi: पंपळी Pimpli • Tamil: திப்பிl Tippili
• Malayalam: p Tippali • Telugu: Pippallu •Kannada:
Kandan Lippili • Konkani: पपल Pipli • Urdu: Pipul ‫پـــلیپ‬
• Gujarati: પીપર Pipari •Sanskrit: पपल Pippali, Magadhi
Botanical name: Piper longum Family: Piperaceae (Pepper

Long Pepper is a climber, of South Asian origin (Deccan

peninsula), cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and
used as a spice and seasoning. Long pepper is a close relative
of the black pepper plant, and has a similar, though generally
hotter, taste. The word pepper itself is derived from the
Sanskrit word for long pepper, pippali. It is a slender,
aromatic, climber with perennial woody roots, creeping and
jointed stems, and fleshy fruits embedded in the spikes.
Leaves are numerous, 6.3 to 9.0 cm, broadly ovate or oblong-
oval, dark green and shining above, pale and dull beneath. The
older leaves are dentate, dark in color and heart shaped. The
younger leaf is ovate in shape and contains 5 veins on them.
Flowers are monoceous and male and female flowers are borne
on different plants. Male flower stalk is about 1 to 3 inch long
and female flower stalk is ½ to 1 inch long. Fruit is long. When
it ripes it attains red color and when it dries it attains black
color. It is one inch in diameter. The plant flowers in rains and
fruits in early winters.
Medicinal uses: Pippali is certainly one of the most widely
used of all Ayurvedic herbs. It is one of the best herbs for
enhancing digestion, assimilation and metabolism of the foods
we eat. It is also highly prized for its ability to enhance
assimilation and potency of herbs in a synergistic formula (this
is called the Yogavahi effect).
Identification credit: Prashant
More Photographed at Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai.
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Common name: Goanese Ipecac, Goanese ipecacuanh
• Hindi: पतमार pitmari, तीनपण tinparni • Malayalam:
 nilanarakam • Kannada: ೆಲೇವ nelabevu
•Konkani: पतमार pitmari, तीनपानी tinpani • Sanskrit: अलवल
amlavalli, पणक triparnika
Botanical name: Naregamia
alata Family: Meliaceae (Neem family)

Goanese Ipecac is a rare shrub, 15-45 cm tall, found mainly on

rocky or grassy slopes in western peninsular India. Leaves are
divided into 3 leaflets, each of which is wedge-shaped-
obovate, quite entire, and stalkless. The leaf stalk is winged.
White flowers, 2.5-5 cm long, arise solitary in leaf axils. Sepal
five, 5 mm long. Petals are 5, very ong, strap-shaped, distinct,
free from the stamen tube. Filaments are united into a long
tube, inflated and spherical at the tip. Capsule is 3-cornered,
3-valved valves circular, 8 mm long. Seeds 2 in each cell,
curved. Flowering: April-May.
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Water Willow • Marathi: करं बल Karambal,

पतपापडा Pitpapada, कलमाशी Kalmashi • Tamil: ஆரம் arm,
கந்ேதறு knteyu, ேகாடகசாைல kotakacalai, குக்குரம்
kukkurm • Konkani: घाट पतपापड Ghati Pitpapad
Botanical name: Justicia
procumbens Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)

Water Willow is a slender, often tufted, prostrate or ascending,

branched perennial herb. The stems are 10-40 cm long. The
leaves are elliptic to oblong-ovate or ovate, 7-20 mm long, 5-
20 mm wide, obtuse at both ends, and entire or slightly
crenate as to margin. The flowers are pink, 6-7 mm long, and
borne in terminal, rather dense, cylindric spikes 1-5 cm long
and about 5 mm in diameter. The bracts and sepals are green,
linear-lanceolate, and hairy. The fruit (capsule) is slightly hairy
and about 4 mm long.
Medicinal uses: The herb contains a bitter alkaloid and that it
is used as a substitute for Fumaria. It is alternative and
expectorant and is given in the form of infusion (1 to 20) in
asthma, coughs, and rheumatism. The juice of the leaves is
squeezed into the eyes in cases of ophthalmia. The odor of the
whole plant is unpleasant; it is used in decoction for backache,
plethora, and flatulence.
Identification credit: Hemanth Photographed in Thane, Maharashtra.
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Common name: Red hogweed, Tar Vine, Red Spiderling,
Wineflower • Hindi: Punarnava, Satha • Kannada:
Adakaputtana gida
Botanical name: Boerhavia diffusa
Family: Nyctaginaceae (Bougainvillea family)
Synonyms: Boerhavia repens, Boerhavia coccinea

Red Spiderling is a prostrate herb with very diffuse

inflorescences. It is a weed found throughout India.
Inflorescences occur at the end of branches, are forked about
3-6 times, occasionally with sticky internodal bands. Branches
are divergent, terminating in compact subumbellate or
capitate, 2-5-flowered clusters. Flowers have stalk shorter
than 0.5 mm. Bract at base of the flower tube quickly
deciduous, lancelike, 0.8-1 mm. Flowers are purplish red to
reddish pink or nearly white, bell-shaped beyond the
constriction, 1-1.5 mm. Stamens 2-3, are inside the flower or
barely protruding out. Tender young leaves and shoots are
cooked and used as a vegetable.
Medicinal uses: Popular in Ayurveda, this herb is known for
its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The roots of
Boerhavia diffusa, commonly known as 'Punarnava', are used
by a large number of tribes in India for the treatment of
various hepatic disorders and for internal inflammation.
Anodectal data has also reported effectiveness of Boerhavia
diffusa incases of oedema and ascites resulting from early
cirrhosis of the liver and chronic peritonitis.
Identification credit: Navendu Pagé Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Raj Patha • Hindi: राज पाठा Raj Patha
• Kannada: paduvala balli, phalani • Malayalam: pada-
kelengu, patakkilannu • Marathi: थोरल पाडावळ Thorali Padval,
मोठ पहाडवेल Mothi pahadvel • Sanskrit: बहत
ृ ् पाठा Bruhat Patha,
akaisika, ambastha, ambasthaki • Tamil: malaitanki,
ponmucuttai • Telugu: patatige, paatathige
Botanical name: Cyclea
peltata Family: Menispermaceae (Moonseed family)

Raj Patha is a slender twining shrub, frequently climbing up on

tall trees. Leaves are alternate, heart shaped, 2.5-10 cm long,
2.5-3.75 cm broad, stipule 5-10 cm long and nerves 7-11. The
flowers are unisexual, pale yellow, in panicles occurring in leaf
axils. The fruits are ovoid drupes, brown or scarlet in color.
The seeds are covered. The roots are tuberous, cylindrical,
irregularly curved, with grayish brown surface. The plant
blooms in the rainy season.
Medicinal uses: The roots of patha have great medicinal
value and are used for medicinal purpose, both, internally as
well as externally. External application of the paste of its roots
and leaves is extremely beneficial, in infected wounds, sinuses,
and skin diseases like erysipelas and pruritus. The external
application of this paste is said to be useful in serpant bite
also. The root juice is salutary in headache, as nasal drops.
The roots have anti-inflammatory activity and hence alleviated
the edema. Patha is a valuable wound healer and
antidermatosis herb.
credit: Dinesh Photographed en route to Lohagad, near Lonavala, Maharashtra.
Valke, Tanay Bose, Neil Soares
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Tape Vine • Assamese: Tubuki lota
• Bengali: Akanadi, Kanadi, Chhotopard • Garo: Khaarkha
• Malayalam: patakkilannu • Manipuri:  u a
uri angouba • Nepali: Batule paat • Sanskrit: Rajapatha
Botanical name: Stephania
japonica Family: Menispermaceae (Moonseed family)
Synonyms: Menispermum japonicum, Cissampelos

Tape vine is a climber found in India, S. China and SE Asia.

Leaves are ovate, long pointed, with a rounded base, and the
stalk joining the leaf away from the edge. Leaf stalk is about 6
cm long. Leaves are 12-16 cm long, 2-11 cm wide. The leaves
show 4 pairs of secondary nerves which are reddish. Flowers
are minute, borne in flat-topped clusters in leaf axils. Fruits
are red, obovate to almost round, 6-8 mm.
Medicinal uses: In Japan and Taiwan, decoction of the plant
is used as a drink to treat malaria. In Indonesia, the roots are
used to provide relief in stomach achne
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Ground Cherry, Sunberry • Hindi: रसभर
Rasbhari, Ban Tipariya, Chirpati • Marathi: Chirboti,
Nanvachivel, रान पोपट Ran-popti • Tamil: Kupanti •Malayalam:
Notinotta • Telugu: Kupanti • Kannada: Gadde hannu
• Bengali: Bantepariya • Gujarati: पोपट Popti
Botanical name: Physalis
minima Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)

This is a popular wild fruits to pick and eat. The taste of the
ripe berry is sweet and distinctive. The berries are ripe when
the husk turns brown and the berry inside takes on a yellowish
cast. This is a herbaceous plant which can reach 3 ft. It can be
a perennial or an annual. The stem is branched and often
reclining. The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 10cm in
length. Each leaf is toothed or lobed. The flowers have 5
Regular Parts and are up to 2cm wide. They are greenish
yellow sometimes brownish yellow. Blooms first appear in early
summer and continue into late summer. The flowers hang from
the stem. A berry hidden in a larger papery shell. The berry
and shell are both green at first with the shell turning light
brown and the berry taking on a yellow cast when ripe.
Medicinal uses: The plant has been used as a diuretic for
various urinary problems. There seems to be no scientific data
to support this. Its use for bladder problems may go back to
the doctrine of signatures . Physalis is the Greek word for
Identification credit: K. Photographed in Govindghat, Uttarakhand.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Rasna • Hindi: Phaar • Kannada:

Chithramoolaka • Marathi: रसना Rasna, Rashna • Sanskrit:
Elaparni, रसना Rasna, Rasya, Sreyasi, सगं
ु धा Sugandha, सरभी

Surabhi, surasa, suvaha, य ता
ु yukta • Telugu: Rasna
Botanical name: Pluchea
lanceolata Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Berthelotia lanceolata

Rasna is an undershrub, growing up to 1.5 m tall, with whitish

or greyish branches. Leaves are sessile, 1-7 cm long, 0.3-2 cm
wide, oblong-invert-ed-lanceshaped, with a tiny point at the
tip, leathery, minutely velvety on both surfaces. Margin is
entire or obscurely toothed at the tip. Flower-heads are
purplish, ovoid or bell-shaped, 3-5 mm in diameter, arranged
in compound corymbs at the end of branches. Phyllaries are 2-
3 seriate, outer ones purple tinged at the apex, broadly,
obovate, obtuse, entire, pubescent, 2.5-3.5 mm long, silky
pubescent, inner linear entire, 4-6 mm long. Florets are pink,
outer female florets many, thread-like, disc florets tubular,
few, 4-18, bisexual but functionally male. The one-seeded fruit
is small, white, linear, hairless. Pappus hairs 20-26, distinctly
fused at base. Flowering: March-August.
Medicinal uses: Rasna is a medicinal herb in Ayurveda and
Tibetan medicine. The plant is used for the inflammations and
bronchitis, psoriasis, cough and piles. It is also used as
antipyretic, analgesic, laxative and nervine tonic. The
decoction of plant is used to prevent the swellings of joint in
arthritis, rheumatism and neurological diseases. The roots are
antipyretic, bitter, laxative and thermogenic and are used for
allaying the pain caused by the sting of scorpions.
Identification credit: K.
Ravikumar Photographed in Hauz Rani City Forest, Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Bellyache Bush, Cotton-leaf physic nut
• Hindi: रतनजोती Ratanjoti •Manipuri: E-hidak • Tamil: சிறிய
ஆமணக்கு Siria Amanakku • Malayalam: Chuvanna
Kadalavanakku • Kannada: Chikka kada haralu • Bengali: Lal
Botanical name: Jatropha
gossypiifolia Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

This is a container grown plant but lives outdoors. It is often

confused with castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) It grows
spontaneously in abandoned areas. The contrast between the
purple leaves and green fruits is something special. This bush
has beautiful foilage The new leaves on the top of each branch
are tri-lobed and a lovely purple-red. Castor oil leaves are
larger and with many more labes. The flowers are small, red
with yellow centres, and are in small clusters throughout the
upper part of the plant. Seed pods are smooth and oval, about
the size of a cherry, 12 mm across and contain three to four
seeds about 8 mm long. The leaves shine in the sun and it will
reach 3' tall and easily as wide in one growing season. The
leaves are a glossy, burgundy-red that ages to a medium
green. The plant takes the heat and has tremendous vigor. It
easily seeds itself around, and can become a weed. The fruits
of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals. The toxic
substance is a toxalbumin which, when eaten, leads to
symptoms of gastro-enteritis and eventual death of some
Medicinal uses: It may come as a surprise then to discover
that concoctions derived from bellyache bush are actually used
in folk medicine all around the world, in particular to treat
bellyache, hence the name bellyache bush. It's a case of "what
does not kill us makes us stronger.
Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Spade Flower, Pink ladies slipper • Hindi:
रतनपषु Ratan purush •Bengali: Munbora • Kannada: ಪರುಶರತ
Purusharathna • Malayalam: Orilathamatai •Telugu: ш

Ratnapurusha • Marathi: Rathanparas • Sanskrit: रनपष

Botanical name: Hybanthus
enneaspermus Family: Violaceae (Violet family)
Synonyms: Ionidium suffruticosum

Spade Flower is a perennial herb or small shrub to 60 cm high,

smooth or hairy. Leaves are linear to lance-like, 1-5 cm long,
margins recurved to revolute, occasionally flat; stipules
acuminate, 1-4 mm long. Pink-purple spade-shaped flowers
occur solitary. Sepals 3-4 mm long. Lower petal broad spade-
shaped, pink-purple, with deep purple veins. Upper petals
linear-oblong, 3-4 mm long; lateral pair 4.5-5 mm long.
Anthers without appendages. Capsule 4-9 mm long; seeds 5-
12, pitted between ribs.
Medicinal uses: This herb is considered to be extremely
beneficial to men, used as a diuretic, demulcent and tonic. The
root is diuretic and is used in urinary affections and bowel
complaints of children. Decoction of leaves and tender stalks is
demulcent. The fruit is used to treat scorpion sting. It is a hard
task to collect adequate quantities of whole plants, let alone
individual parts.
Identification credit: Akramul Photographed in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Avishek Bhattacharjee

Common name: Edgeworth's Habenaria • Hindi: ऋ Riddhi

• Tamil: Riddhi •Malayalam: Riddhi • Telugu: Riddhi
• Kannada: Riddhi • Sanskrit: ऋ Riddhi
Botanical name: Habenaria
edgeworthii Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Platanthera edgeworthii

Edgeworth's Habenaria is a tuberous terrestrial orchid, growing

up to 75 cm tall. It has somewhat twisted leafy stem covered
with hairs. Leaves are sheathed, 2-4 in number, ovate to
lance-shaped. Flowers are yellowish green deflexed in buds, in
cylindrical spike. Lip is bright yellow, entire, strap-shaped,
base forming slightly channeled claw, spur longer than ovary,
spreading and directed upwards usually hooked downwards
towards the tip, column 2-3 mm in height. Edgeworth's
Habenaria is found in the Himalayas, from Uttarkhand to
Nepal, at altitudes of 2500-3000 m.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Roheda, Honey Tree, Desert Teak, Marwar

Teak • Hindi: रोहे ड़ा Roheda, Rohida • Marathi: Rakhtroda,
Raktarohida • Sanskrit: Chalachhada, Dadimacchada,
Botanical name: Tecomella
undulata Family: Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)
Synonyms: Tecoma undulata, Bignonia undulata

Roheda is a deciduous or nearly evergreen tree of desert or

dry regions. It occurs on flat and undulating areas including
gentle hill slopes and sometimes also in ravines. It thrives very
well on stabilized sand dunes, which experience extreme low
and high temperatures. Leaves are narrow, somewhat lance-
shaped, with wavy margins, 5-12 cm long. In spring time it
produces beautiful showy tubular flowers in yellow, orange and
red colours. Fruit is a long, thin, slightly curved capsule up to
20 cm long, with winged seeds. Roheda is mainly used as a
source of timber. Its wood is strong, tough and durable. It
takes a fine finish. The wood is excellent for firewood and
charcoal. Cattle and goats eat leaves of the tree. Camels,
goats and sheep consume flowers and pods. Roheda plays an
important role in ecology. It acts as a soil-binding tree by
spreading a network of lateral roots on the top surface of the
soil. It acts as a windbreak and helps in stabilizing shifting
sand dunes. It is considered as the home of birds and provides
shelter for other desert wildlife. Shade of tree crown is shelter
for the cattle, goats and sheep during summer days.
Medicinal uses: The bark obtained from the stem is used as a
remedy for syphilis. It is also used in curing urinary disorders,
enlargement of spleen, gonorrhoea, leucoderma and liver
diseases. Seeds are used against
abscess. Photographed in Lodhi Garden, Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Kamala Tree, dyer's rottlera, monkey face
tree, orange kamala, red kamala, scarlet croton • Hindi: कामला
kamala, रै नी raini, रोहन rohan, रो हनी rohini, सधर
ु sinduri
• Manipuri: u  Ureirom laba • Marathi: केशर kesari,
 shendri • Tamil: கபிலப்ெபாடி kapila poti,
குரங்குமஞ்சணாறி kuranku-mañcanari • Malayalam:
 kurangumanjas,  naavatta, 

nuurimaram • Telugu: кк   kunkuma-chettu • Kannada:
ಕುಮುಮದ ಮರ kunkuma-damara • Bengali:  kamala
•Sanskrit: कािपयक kampilyaka
Botanical name: Mallotus
philippensis Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Kamala Tree (pronounced kaamlaa) is a tree found throughout

India. It has been in use as medicinal tree in India for ages.
The tree can grow up to 10 m tall. Alternately arranged, ovate
or rhombic ovate leaves are rusty-velvety. Male and female
flowers occur in different trees. Female flowers are borne in lax
spike like racemes at the end of branches or in leaf axils. Male
flowers occur three together in the axils of small bracts.
Capsule is trigonous-globular, covered with a bright crimson
layer of minute, easily detachable reddish powder. Kamala is
supposed to be a very useful tree. It is source of Kamala dye
which is used in colouring silk and wool. It is used as anti-
oxidant for ghee and vegetable oils. Oil is used as hair-fixer
and added in ointment. Seed oil is used in paints and
varnishes. Seed cake is used as manure.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, leaves are bitter,
cooling and appetizer. Fruit is heating, Purgative, anthelmintic,
vulnerary, detergent, maturant, carminative, alexiteric and
useful in treatment of bronchitis, abdominal diseases, spleen
enlargement etc.
Identification credit: Dinesh Valke &
Shrikant Ingalhalikar Photographed in Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke

Common name: Rudravanti, Littoral bind weed • Hindi: वंती

rudravanti • Marathi: लोण lona, वंती rudravanti • Tamil:
உப்புசணக uppucanaka • Malayalam: azhukanni •Telugu:
 uppusenaga • Kannada:

ಮುಳಮದುಡ mullumaddugida • Konkani: चवल chaval • Urdu:

Rudanti • Gujarati: Una • Sanskrit: वि त rudravanti, Palitaka
Botanical name: Cressa
cretica Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)

Rudravanti is a shrubby, diffuse herb, a few cm to 30 cm high,

arising from a woody perennial root-stock. It is commonly
found in India along sandy sea shores. Numerous stalkless
leaves are very small, ovate, acute tipped, hairy or ashy-
velvety. Flowers are small, white or pink, nearly stalkless in
upper leaf axils, forming a many-flowered head. Sepals are 5,
flower is funnel-shaped, and stamens protrude out of the
flower. It is commonly in cultivated fields about Mumbai.
Flowering: December-February.
Medicinal ues: According to Ayurved, it is bitter, pungent,
rough and hot in properties. The whole plant is used for
medicinal purposes. It is useful herb for asthma, bronchitis,
dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, anorexia, anemia, diabetes and
skin disease.
Identification credit: Tony
Rodd & Dinesh Valke Photographed at Vasai Creek, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Rue, Common rue, herb of Grace • Hindi:
Sadab, Saturi • Marathi: Satapa • Tamil: Aruvadam
• Malayalam: Sadsu • Telugu: Sadapa • Kannada: Satari
•Bengali: Ispund • Oriya: Maruya • Sanskrit: Sarpadanshta
Botanical name: Ruta graveolens Family: Rutaceae (Citrus

Rue is a small evergreen subshrub or semiwoody perennial 2-3

ft tall and almost as wide. It is sometimes grown as an
ornamental plant in gardens, especially because of its bluish
leaves, and also sometimes for its tolerance of hot and dry soil
conditions. It also is grown as both a medicinal herb and as a
condiment. The 3-5 in long leaves are dissected pinnately into
oblong or spoon shaped segments. They are somewhat fleshy
and usually covered with a powdery bloom. The sea green
foliage has a strong, pungent, rather unpleasant scent when
bruised. The paniculate clusters of small yellow flowers appear
in spring, held well above the foliage and often covering most
of the plant. Each flower is about 0.5 in across with four
concave notched petals. Rue usually grows in a compact,
rounded mound. Common rue is native to southern Europe and
northern Africa.
Medicinal uses: In European folk medicine, rue is said to
relieve gas pains and colic, improve appetite and digestion,
and promote the onset of menstruation and uteral
contractions. For this reason the refined oil of rue has been
cited by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder and the
gynecologist Soranus, as a potent abortifacient (inducing
abortion). Rue contains pilocarpine which is used in horses to
induce abortion, and is a traditional abortifacient among
Hispanic people in New Mexico.
Identification credit: Gautam Muralidharan
Photographed in Delhi.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Malabar Chlorophytum • Hindi: सफ़ेद मसल

safed musli • Marathi: सफेत मसळी
ु safet musli
Botanical name: Chlorophytum
malabaricum Family: Liliaceae (Lily family)

Malabar Chlorophytum is a species of Chlorophytum found in

the Western Ghats. White flowers arise in an erect spike. It is
medicinally used in similar ways as some other Chlorophytum
credit: Avinash Dada Photographed near Amby Valley, Lonavala, Maharashtra.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Eucalyptus, Safeda सफ़ैदा (Hindi), Nasik
Botanical name: Eucalyptus
spp. Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle Family)

Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of trees (rarely shrubs), the

members of which dominate the tree flora of Australia. All
eucalypts are evergreen, although some species have
deciduous bark. On warm days vapourised eucalyptus oil rises
above the bush to create the characteristic distant blue haze of
the Australian landscape. Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable
(trees have been known to explode) and bush fires can travel
easily through the oil-rich air of the tree crowns. Eucalypts
exhibit leaf dimorphism. When young, the leaves are opposite
and often roundish and occassionally without petiole. When
several years old, the leaves become quite slender and with
long petiole. Eucalyptus flowers typically vary from white,
cream, pink, yellow, or red depending upon the species. The
flower petals and stamens are fused into a cap called an
operculum — as the flower opens the cap is shed. The flowers
appear as a fuzzy, cream-yellow ball of stamens. After
flowering, hard, woody seed pods develop and are often key to
identifying the plant species. Typically, these seed heads
remain on the tree until released by fire or the plant's death.
Medicinal uses: Eucalyptus oil has medicinal properties - the
well known Vicks vapo-rub is made out of eucalyptus oil.
Traditionally, eucalyptus oil is known to be a good medicine for
relieving nasal congestion in cold.
Photographed in New Delhi
Tell a friend about this flower!
aturalized Photo: Thingnam Girija

Common name: Little ironweed, Purple feabane • Hindi:

Sahadevi सहदे वी • Marathi: Sadodi • Tamil: பூவங்குருந்தல்
Puvamkuruntal • Telugu: Sahadevi • Bengali: Kuksim
Botanical name: Cyanthillium cinereum
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Vernonia cinerea, Conyza cinerea, Senecioides

Little ironweed is an annual or short-lived perennial to 50cm

with ovate leaves. The stems branch repeatedly at the top to
hold aloft the small cylindrical, purple flower heads. Flowers
throughout the year. Originally from Central America, now a
pantropical weed, it is sometimes considered native to Western
Australia. Found in upland crop areas, waste places and
roadsides throughout India.
Medicinal uses: The seeds yield a fatty oil and are used as an
anthelmintic and alexipharmic; they are said to be quite
effective against roundworms and threadworms. They are also
given for coughs, flatulence, intestinal colic.
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Cassia Indigo • Hindi: Saknya, Kathi
• Kannada: Chennaata • Konkani: चमनाती Chimnati • Marathi:
चमनाती Chimnati, Baroli • Oriya: Girel • Telugu: Karkandi
Botanical name: Indigofera
cassioides Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Indigofera pulchella, Indigofera leptostachya

Cassia Indigo is an erect shrub, 1-1.5 m tall. Leaves are

compound 7-15 cm long, with 11-21 leaflets, 1.1-2.4 cm long,
7-15 mm broad, oblong to elliptical, blunt, truncate to slightly
retuse, apiculate, velvety on both sides. Stipules are 2-4 mm
long, deciduous. Inflorescence is a 5-17 cm long raceme,
covered with sterile scales at the base. Bract are 2-10 mm
long. The stalk carrying the raceme is 1-2 mm long. Sepal cup
is 2-3 mm long, teeth nearly equal, 1-2 mm long. Flowers are
bright pink, fading to violet, shaped like pea flowers. Vexillum
is 1.2-1.8 cm long. Fruit is 2.4-4.3 cm long, 4 mm broad,
straight, hairless, 8-12-seeded. Flowering: March-May.
Tell a friend about this flower!
ative Photo: Deepa Vichare

Common name: Elephant Foot, Prickly-leaved elephant's foot,

Bull's Tongue, Ironweed •Hindi: Samdudri, बन तबाखू Ban-
tambakhu • Marathi: ह तीपात Hastipata • Tamil: Anashovadi
• Malayalam: Anayatiyan • Telugu: Enugabira • Kannada:
Hakkarike •Bengali: s◌  Hasti pod • Sanskrit: गोिजवा
Botanical name: Elephantopus
scaber Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Elephant Foot is a rather coarse, rigid, erect, hairy herb 30 to

60 cm high. Stems forked, and stiff. Leaves are mostly in basal
rosette and oblong-ovate to oblong-lancelike, 10-25 cm in
length and often very much notched on the margins. Those on
the stem few and much smaller. Purple flowers are 8-10 mm
long. Each head comprises about 4 flowers. Flowering heads
borne in clusters at the end of the branches and usually
enclosed by 3 leaf-like bracts which are ovate to oblong-ovate,
1 to 1.5 cm long, and heart-shaped at the base. The flowering
heads many-crowded in each cluster. Fruits are achenes,
ribbed. Pappus from 4 to 6 mm long with rigid ristles.
Medicinal uses: Roots and leaves are used as emollient for
dysuria, diarrhoea, dysentery, swellings and stomach pain.
Root is prescribed to prevent vomiting. Powdered with pepper
it is applied for tooth-ache. Leaves are used in applications for
eczema and ulcers.
credit: Nongtho Photographed in Khanapur, Balgaum, Maharashtra & Imphal, Manipur.
mbam Ulysses
Tell a friend about this flower!
Common name: Barringtonia, Freshwater Mangrove, Indian
Oak, Indian Putat •Assamese: Hendol, Hinyol, Pani amra
• Bengali: Hijal • Hindi: Hijagal, Hijjal, सम
ु फल,
Samundarphal • Kannada: Mavinkubia, Niruganigily,
Dhatripala • Malayalam: Attampu, Attupelu, Nir perzha
• Marathi: Tiwar, Newar, Sathaphala, Samudraphala • Oriya:
Nijhira •Sanskrit: Abdhiphala, Ambudhiphala, अ बज ु Ambuja
• Tamil: Aram, Kadambu, Kadappai, ஸமுத்திரப்பழம
samudra pazham • Telugu: Kurpa • Urdu: Samandarphal
Botanical name: Barringtonia
acutangula Family: Lecythidaceae (Brazilnut family)
Synonyms: Barringtonia spicata, Eugenia acutangula

Barringtonia is an evergreen tree of moderate size, called by

Sanskrit writers Hijja or Hijjala. The fruit is spoken of as
Samudra-phala and Dhātriphala or ”nurse’s fruit,” and is one
of the best known domestic remedies. Also called Stream
Barringtonia or Itchy Tree (after a catepillar with irritant hairs
that sometimes colonises the undersides of the leaves)
Barringtonia is a tree 5-8 m tall with rough fissured dark grey
bark. Leaves are obovate. Red flowers are produced on
pendulous racemes about 20cm long. Four sided fruits are
produced periodically throughout the year. Partly deciduous in
extended dry periods. This species grows on the banks of
freshwater rivers, the edges of freshwater swamps and
lagoons and on seasonally flooded lowland plains, commonly
on heavy soils. Found in Madagascar and tropical Asia,
amongst other places. Propagation is by seed. Tolerant of
heavy clay soils with poor drainage, it can grow in a range of
Medicinal uses: This tree has long been used for medicine,
timber and as a fish poison. In traditional medicine, when
children suffer from a cold in the chest, the seed is rubbed
down on a stone with water and applied over the sternum, and
if there is much dyspnoea a few grains with or without the
juice of fresh ginger are administered internally and seldom
fail to induce vomiting and the expulsion of mucus from the air
passages. More recently it has become the focus of research
for pain-killing compounds.
Identification credit: Navendu
Pāgé Photographed in Lodhi Garden, Delhi.
Common name: Sandan • Hindi: सदन Sandan, तनास Tinnas
• Kannada: bettahonne, huli, karimutale, karimuttala
• Malayalam: malavenna, nemi, totukara • Marathi: kalapalas,
tanach, tewas • Nepali: सदन Sandan • Oriya: bandano
• Sanskrit: Akshaka, Ashmagarbhaka, Atimuktaka,
Bhasmagharba • Tamil: Naநrெவஂைக vengai, atimuttam,
cakkirini • Telugu: к Tellamotuku atimuktamu,
Botanical name: Desmodium
oojeinense Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Dalbergia oojeinensis, Ougeinia oojeinensis,
Ougeinia dalbergioides

Sandan is a medium sized deciduous tree, 6-12 m tall, with a

short crooked trunk and dark brown, deeply cracked bark.
Leaves are trifoliate, with large, rigidly leathery leaflets.
Central leaflet is broadly elliptic or roundish, sometimes
trapezoidal, with 4-8 pairs of main nerves. Flowers are
numerous, white or pink, borne in short racemes fascicled
from the nodes of old branches. Fruit is a linear, flat pod, light
brown in color, with 2-5 seeds per pod.
Medicinal uses: Juice of the root, mixed with the powder of
two fruits of black pepper is taken in cases of eye trouble. A
paste of bark is applied to cuts and wounds.
Identification credit: Satish Phadke
Photographed in Pune, Maharashtra.
<<< Back Photo: Sobhapati Samom

ative Photo: Thingnam Sophia

Common name: Tree Bean • Hindi: सपोटा sapota, Khorial

• Manipuri:  Yongchak • Kannada: Shivalingada mara
• Marathi: Unkampinching • Assamese: Khorial
Botanical name: Parkia timoriana Family: Fabaceae (Pea
Synonyms: Parkia javanica, Parkia roxburghii

Tree Bean is a very large tree, 25-40 m in height, found in

North-East India. The leaves are evenly bipinnate and 30-80
cm long. The pinnae are 40-60 in number, and 8-20 cm long.
The leaflets are 60-140, linear-oblong, 6-12 mm long, close-
set, shining above, and pointed at the tip. The flower-heads
are dense, obovoid or perform, up to 6 cm long, hanging from
leaf axils like old-fashioned electric bulbs, on long cable-like
stalks. The flowers are white and yellow, about 1 cm long. The
pods are 25-30 cm long, about 3.5 cm wide, rather thick,
pendulous, and black and shinning when mature, and contain
from 15-20 seeds. The pods are edible, and are considered a
delicacy in Manipur. Their pulp is golden yellow, with a
sweetish taste and an odor like that of violets. The roasted
seeds are used in certain parts of Africa to make an infusion
like coffee, for which reason they have been called soudan
Medicinal uses: Pods are used in bleeding piles. Bark extract
is given in diarrhoea and dysentery. Bark and leaves are
employed for making lotion applied to sores and skin
Identification credit: Thingnam Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
ative Photo: Tabish

Common name: Indian Snakeroot, Insanity herb • Hindi:

Sarpagandha सपगंधा
Botanical name: Rauvolfia serpentina
Family: Apocynaceae (oleander family)
Synonyms: Rauwolfia serpentina

Sarpagandha is a famous tranquilizer and antipsychotic herb of

India for the treatment of paranoia and schizophrenia, as well
as a substance that controls hypertension. Sarpagandha is an
erect, evergreen shrub, merely 15 to 45 cm high. Its leaves
are large, in whorls of three - dark green above and pale green
below. The flowers are white, pinkish or red, occurring in
whorls. Its fruit are tiny, oval, fleshy which turn a shiny
purple-black when ripe. It is the roots of the plant that are
mainly used for medicinal purposes.
Medicinal uses: Although this plant was well known in India,
westerners paid no attention to it until an Indian physician
wrote an article on rauvolfia in 1943. Because of the drug's
noted sedative effects, it was used to treat over a million
Indians in the 1940s for high blood pressure. After a U.S.
physician named Wilkins demonstrated the positive effects of
reserpine (1952), the plant made front page news. This drug
rapidly replaced electric shock and lobotomy as treatments for
certain types of mental illness. Moreover, knowledge about the
chemistry of this natural plant stimulated the synthesis of
other similar alkaloids that are now used as major
Photographed in Raj Bhavan, Imphal, Manipur.