Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Acalypha indica L., Sp. Pl. 1003. 1753; Dalzell & A.Gibson, Bombay Fl. 228. 1861; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 416. 1887.


Beng.: Mukta-jhuri; Guj.: Dadano, Dadro, Vinchikanto; Hindi: Khokle, Kuppi; Kan.: Kuppigida; Mal.: Kuppameni; Mar.: Khokte, Khopli, Kuppi; Sans.: Harita-manjari; Tam.: Kuppaimeni; Tel.: Kuppichettu, Pippinta.

Herbs, monoecious, annual, erect, 40 - 90 cm high; stem simple or branched, finely pubescent. Leaves elliptic-ovate, rhombate-ovate or broadly ovate cuneate, rounded or attenuate at base, crenate or serrulate along margins, acute or abruptly acuminate at apex, 2 - 7 x 1.5 - 5 cm, membranous to subcoriaceous, sparsely hispid above, finely pubescent beneath; main nerves 3 - 5 at base; lateral nerves 3 - 5 pairs; petioles 3 - 8 cm long; stipules subulate, up to 2 mm long. Spikes axillary or terminal, 1.5 - 9 cm long, finely pubescent. Male flowers: clustered at the upper portion of the spike, followed by a tuft of sterile flowers, terminating in an allomorphic flower; flowers subsessile, ca 1 mm across; pedicels ca 0.3 mm long; sepals 4, obovate, ca 0.5 mm across; stamens 10 – 15; filaments ca 0.2 mm long; anthers vermiculiform, 0.4 - 0.5 mm long. Female flowers: many, one each in the axils of bracts from base to above the middle of the spike; bracts alternate, cup-shaped, denticulate along margins, 5 - 13 mm across; flowers sessile, 1 - 2 mm across; sepals 3, ovate-lanceolate, 0.5 - 0.7 mm long; ovary 1 - 1.5 mm across, densely whitish tomentose; styles 3, filiform, laciniate, 2 - 4 mm long. Capsules completely enclosed by bracts, ovoid, trilobed, 3 - 4 mm across, densely minutely pubescent, mixed with a few short stipitate pale brown glands.

Fl. June - Feb.; Fr. Throughout the year.

Distrib. India: Coastal plains to 1000 m altitude, wastelands, moist shaded riverbanks and wetlands, often a troublesome weed in cultivated fields and gardens. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Widespread in Old World tropics.

Uses. The fresh and dry plant is a gastro-intestinal irritant and used as substitute for ipecacuanha. Leaves used externally in scabies and eczema. In Unani medicine, a decoction of the entire plant used as a speedy and safe laxative. The juice of the fresh leaves is a reliable emetic. Steyn (Chem. Abstr. 32: 8617. 1938) found that the plant contains HCN and causes intense dark brown discoloration of blood and gastro-intestinal irritation in rabbits.

Notes. Chromosome numbers: n = 14 (Thombre, Curr. Sci. 28: 206 - 207. 1959); 2n = 18 (Sharma & Jash, Proc. 45th Indian Sci. Congr., Part 3: 302 - 303. 1958); 2n = 20 (Gajapathy, Bull. Bot. Surv. India 3: 49 - 51. 1961); n = 14 (Sanjappa, Taxon 28: 274. 1979).




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