Common Toothwort
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Common Toothwort
P Native Unknown Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Common Toothwort
Botanical name: Lathraea squamaria    Family: Orobanchaceae (Broomrape family)
Synonyms: Lathraea simplex, Squamaria orobanche, Lathraea tatrica

Common Toothwort is a perennial herb producing clumps of flowering shoots in late spring. The low, hairy, creamy-pink flowering shoot grow in a one-sided spike to a height of 8-23 cm. The few scales on the stem are that represent the leaves, but the whole shoot is devoid of chlorophyll. The individual pinkish flowers are drooping and have short stalks, two lips and open mouths. The sepal-cup teeth are blunt and hairy. The scales which represent the leaves also secrete water, which escapes and softens the ground around the plant. Externally they immediately reveal their heterotrophic character by their lack of chlorophyll and the reduction of their leaf area. Common Toothwort is found in Europe, Russia and the Himalayas.
Medicinal uses: It is known that aqueous extract from the common toothworh raw material has antitumoral, biligenic and diuretic activities. In Russian traditional medicine, it is used for treating infertility in men and women, stimulation of cardiac, hepar and renal system function.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh.

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