Large Caltrops is a shrubby, stiff-stemmed herb, native to India, grown for reputed medicinal and
other uses. It is diffuse annual, much branched, spreading, succulent,
glandular, up to 60 cm tall. Roots similar to turmeric in colour. Leaves
simple, opposite, ovate or oblong-obovate, 1-4.5 cm long, irregularly and
coarsely crenate-serrate. Yellow flowers 1.5-2 cm across, stalk 1-2 mm long,
increasing up to 4 mm in fruit. Sepals 2 mm long; teeth linear, scaly
outside, persistent. Petals fused into a broad tube, 1-3 cm long; lobes
obtuse. Stamens 0.5-1 cm long; anthers kidney shaped. The four angled seed
is with 5 extremely sharp spines.
It is an important famine food - leaves eaten as vegetable.
Leaves are antibilious. Seeds are demulcant, diuretic, tonic,
muscilaginous and aphrodesiac. Used in male impotence, gonorrhoea, and
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale
Photographed in Alibag,
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