Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Aconitum heterophyllum Wallich [Cat. 167, no. 4722. 1831, nom. nud.] ex Royle, Illus. Bot. Himal. t. 13. 1833 & 56. 1834; Hook. f. & Thomson in Fl. Brit. India 1: 29. 1872.

Herbs, biennial; roots paired, 2.5 - 4 cm long, tuberous; stems downy, erect, simple or branched, 90 - 120 cm high. Leaves heteromorphous; basal leaves long-petioled; petioles 10 - 12 cm long; lamina orbicular-cordate or ovate-cordate with narrow sinus, 5-Partite up to middle, with crenate lobes; upper cauline leaves sessile, ovate-elongate or varied in shape, sharply toothed, sessile or shortly petioled and stem-clasping, 5 - 8 x 2 - 6 cm. Inflorescence a slender raceme or a lax panicle; bracts ovate, acute, sharply toothed up to 10 x 5 mm; upper 3-fid or entire; pedicels up to 3 cm long. Sepals greenish blue marked with red or violet; uppermost sepal navicular, shortly beaked. Petals glabrous Filaments pale green, glabrous or minutely hairy; anthers brown. Carpels 5, pubeacent. Follicles 5, contiguous, green, downy. Seeds smooth.

Fl. & Fr. Aug. - Sept.

Distrib. India: W. Himalayas, among shrubs on grass, riverbeds and slopes, 3000- 3500 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Pakistan and Nepal (up to 83° E. Long.).

Notes. Chromosome number reported is n = 8 (Mehra & Remanandan in Cytologia 37: 281 - 294. 1972) from a population of Gulmarg in Kashmir. Numerous biotypes have been reported for this species.

A valuable non-poisonous medicinal plant; roots contain an alkaloid atisine used as febrifuge and tonic. Kapahi (in J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 14: 50. 1990) reports that a decoction of the plant serves as antiseptic and given to cure dyspepsia, especially when appetite is lost after illness. It also checks excessive menstrual flow. Fresh leaves used as cure to toothache.

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