Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Dictamnus albus L., Sp. Pl. 383. 1753; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 487. 1875. D. fraxinella Pers., Syn. Pl. 464. 1805. D. himalayanus Royle, Ill. Bot. Himal. t. 29. 1834 et 156. 1835.

Eng.: Burning bush, Dittany, Gas plant.

Herbs up to ca 1 m high; branches terete, puberulent or glabrate. Leaves 16 - 30 cm long; petioles 5 - 20 mm long; rachis angular, marginate, glandular, shortly pubescent to glabrate; leaflets 7 to 15, sessile, oblong-elliptic or ovate to ovate-lanceolate, cuneate at base, acute or acuminate at apex, glandular-serrulate along margins, 3.5 - 7 x 1.5 - 3 cm, dark green, membranous, glabrate above. densely puberulent to pubescent beneath especially along midnerve and secondary nerves; midnerve slender, slightly raised beneath; secondary nerves 5 - 7 pairs, slightly oblique. Racemes up to 36 cm long; peduncle densely puberulent to glabrescent, darkish-glandular. Flowers slightly irregular; bracts lanceolate, 8 - 18 mm long, darkish-glandular, usually at base of pedicels; bracteoles at middle or tip of pedicels; pedicels up to 25 mm long, puberulent, darkish- glandular. Sepals 5, free or connate at base, persistent, lanceolate, ca 1 mm long, dark-glandular abaxiallyand along margins, glabrate. Petals 5, upper 4 erect, lower one declinate, oblong-elliptic, narrowed below, obtuse at apex, ca 3 x 1 cm, dark-glandular abaxially, glabrous, white striped with pinkish lines, conspicuously nerved, nerves rosy-pink in color. Stamens 10, alternately longer and shorter, ca 3.5 cm long; filaments slender, subulate, dark-glandular at extremities, densely hairy adaxially from base almost up to middle, glabrous above; anthers suboroicular or oblong, apiculate, 1.5 - 2.5 mm. Disk obscurely 10-lobed, glabrous. Ovary stipitate, hispid, 5-carpellate, deeply 5-lobed, 5-locular, each locule with 3 - 4 ovules; style slender, ventral, ca 2 cm long, declinate; stigma simple. Capsule compressed, hispid, ca 2 cm across, 5-valved, carpels 2 - 3-seeded; seeds subglobose , black, shiny.

Fl. May - July; Fr. Aug.- Sept.

Distrib. India: Temperate N.W. Himalayas, often on rocky habitats between 2775 - 3000 m. Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (Tehri-Garhwal).

South C. Europe and C. Asia.

Notes. Root bark is aromatic and used in nervous diseases, fever, amenorrhoea and hysteria. Decoction of root is applied for scabies and various other skin diseases. The plant secretes a volatile, inflammable etherial oil. Roots contain several toxic alkaloids, Chiefly 'Dictamnine'. The plant is esteemed as an ornamental and is often grown in gardens of many temperate countries for its bright, attractive flowers.


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