Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Tragia involucrata L., Sp. Pl. 980. 1753; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 465. 1888, p. p. excl. T. hispida Willd. & excl. vars; Prain, Bengal Pl. 2: 952. 1903; Duthie, Fl. Gangetic Plain 2: 114. 1905, p. p.; T.Cooke, Fl. Bombay 2(3): 621. 1906, p. p.; Gamble, Fl. Madras 2(7): 1332. 1925 (repr. ed. 2: 931. 1957); Kanjilal et al., Fl. Assam 4: 222. 1940.

Asm.: Germa-dhuka-guphu; Beng.: Bichuti; Cachar: Germa-dukha-guphu, Jong-masai; Eng.: Indian stinging nettle; Hindi: Barhanta; Kan.: Dulagondi, Haligilu, Kiriberalu; Mal.: Chorikannan, Choriyanam, Choriyanvalli, Chorikannan, Kodithoova, Kodithumba, Valli-choriyanam; Mar.: Khajakolti, Kolti; Naga: Jong-masai; Sant.: Sengel-sing; Sans.: Dhusparsha, Vrischikali; Tam.: Chenthatti, Kanchori, Kannichi, Ponnai-kanjan, Senthatti; Tel.: Chinna-duradagunta, Doola-gondi, Durada-gondi, Teegadura-dagunta.

Herbs, shrubs (ca 1 m high) or climbers, with twining stems; branches densely hispid. Leaves successively smaller upwards, ovate to suborbicular or ovate-lanceolate to lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate (very rarely 3-lobed at apex), rounded, obtuse, acute to cuneate at base, serrate to serrulate or dentate to denticulate along margins, caudate at apex, (2 -) 5 - 16 x (0.4 -) 1.5 - 7.5 cm, membranous to chartaceous, scattered hispid or hirsute above, densely or scattered hispid or hirsute beneath, 3 (-5)-nerved at base; lateral nerves 3 – 7 per side above the basal, predominantly semicraspedromous or often craspedromous petioles 2 – 40 mm long; stipules lanceolate, subhastate at base, 2 – 4 x 1 – 2 mm, caducous. Racemes 1.5 – 3 (- 4) cm; peduncles 0.5 – 2 cm long; bracts glabrous. Male flowers: pedicels 1.5 – 2 mm long; sepals 3, wide-ovate to suborbicular, ca 1 mm across; stamens 3; filaments dilated at base; anthers oblong to suborbicular, ca 0.3 mm across. Female flowers: subsessile; sepals ca 3 x 1 mm, lobed along margins; ovary 1.5 – 2 mm in diam., hispid; styles 3 – 4 mm long, 3-fid at apex. Fruits subsessile, depressed-globose, deeply 3-lobed, 3 – 5 x 7 – 10 mm, evanescently hispid; fruiting sepals 5 – 8 x 2 – 3 mm (including lobes); main body linear to linear-oblanceolate, yellow or brown hispid outside, glabrous inside; lobes 4 – 6 per side, linear, 1.5 – 3 mm long, hispid.

Fl. & Fr. Throughout the year (flowers yellowish, pale blue or greenish).

Distrib. India: Common in deciduous forests, scrubs, outskirts of forests, waste places, along railway tracks, cultivated fields, roadsides on sandy humus soil or clayey loam, from sea level up to 1100 m altitude. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tripura, Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep and Tamil Nadu.

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Uses. The roots are diaphoretic and alterative; administered in fever and pain in legs and arms. A paste of the roots used for the extraction of guinea worms. The same mixed with juice of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) is also used in treating itchy eruptions on the skin. The roots employed in old venereal complaints as well as a blood-purifier. The leaves used externally in headache. The fruit is a constituent of the Ayurvedic preparation, called Kshara Guda, used for enlarged spleen.

Notes. Contact causes severe itching, irritation and inflammation on skin.

Chromosome numbers: 2n = 20 (Trivedi & Mukherjee, J. Indian Bot. Soc. 59, Suppl.: 100. 1980); 2n = 56 (Datta, Taxon 16: 341 - 350. 1967).

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