Common name: Ban tulsi • Bengali: बन तुलसी • Hindi: Kala Bhangra • Tamil: ரயில் பூண்டு Reilpoondu • Kannada: Alpa bedhi soppu
Botanical name: Croton bonplandianus Family: Euphorbiaceae (castor family)
Normally Crotons are popular foliage plants. This is a wild species of
croton. Due to the resemblance of the leaves and flower cymes to that of
Tulsi, this plant is often called Ban Tulsi (jungle tulsi)
It is a small annual herb, growing up to 1-2 ft tall. Alternately arranged
leaves, 3-5 cm long, are lance-shaped, with a toothed margin. Small white
flowers are borne in 3-8 cm long racemes at the end of branches. Flowers have
5 sepals and 5 petals and numerous long stamens protruding out. Fruit is a 5
mm oblong capsule, with a warty surface.
Ban tulshi is grown abundantly in the rural areas of
Malda, West Bengal, and is used as both a fuel and a detergent. First the stems
and branches of ban tulshi are used as fuel. Then the ash is collected and
kept in a bottle for five or six days. The ash is put in warm water and used
as a detergent for cleaning cotton garments.
Identification credit: Mahadeswara Swamy