Bristly Onosma
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Bristly Onosma
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Bristly Onosma • Hindi: रतनजोत Ratanjot
Botanical name: Onosma hispida    Family: Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not family)

Bristly Onosma is a perennial herb up to 70 cm tall with a prominent tap root. Stems are many, mostly simple, hollow, densely hairy with long spreading hairs 3.5-5 m long. Basal leave are 9-35 cm long, 5-10 mm wide, linear to oblanceolate, middle stem leaves are often larger uppermost smaller. Inflorescence a terminal cyme, dense at anthesis, elongating to 12 cm in fruit. Bracts are lanceolate, leaf-like, but smaller. Flower-stalks are short, densely hairy, up to 10 mm in fruit. Calyx is 1.1-1.3 cm long, up to 2 cm in fruit, densely hairy, sepals lanceshaped. Flowers are creamish-white to light yellow, tubular-bell-shaped 2-3 cm long, velvet-hairy outside, petals 1.5-1.8 mm long, deflexed. Style is up to 2 cm long. Nutlets are 5-6 mm long, shiny. Bristly Onosma is found in the Himalayas, from Afghanistan to Himachal Pradesh, at altitudes of 1000-4000 m. Flowering: May June.
Medicinal uses: Root yields red color commercial dye, mainly used for coloring foodstuffs, wools, oils and medicinal preparations. Also, used in the treatment of wounds, pain relief, fevers, infectious diseases, bites and stings. Flowers are used as stimulant and cardiac tonic. Bruised roots of ratanjot are applied externally to cutaneous eruptions.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed in Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh.

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