Dense-Flowered Snake Root
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Dense-Flowered Snake Root
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Dense-Flowered Snake Root • Khasi: dieng larkei, dieng latyrking, dieng latyrkai, dieng sohbu blang • Malayalam: Amalpori, Vanduvara • Mizo: Lei-tawt, Piri-sawr
Botanical name: Rauvolfia verticillata    Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Rauvolfia densiflora, Rauvolfia chinensis, Rauvolfia major

Dense-Flowered Snake Root is a shrub growing up to 12 ft tall, with milky juice. Leaves are borne in whorls of 3-4, near the ends of the branches, very variable in size, 3-9 x 1-3 inch. Leaves are invert-lanceshaped or obovate, long-pointed, hairless, light-green above, paler beneath, base tapering; main nerves 8-20 pairs. Leaf stalks are 1-2 cm long. Flowers are white or pink , appearing with the young leaves, in lax few-flowered corymb-like cymes. Cymes occur several together, on 1.8-6 cm long stalks. Flower stalks are slender, 6-9.5 mm long. Sepal cup is 4-4.5 mm long, with 2.5-3 mm long, lanceshaped sepals. Flower tube is 7-9 mm long, slightly longer than the petals, inflated at the top. Petals are elliptic-oblong, rounded at the tip. Fruits occur generally in pairs, free ellipsoid, 8-12 mm long, brownish-purple when ripe. Dense-Flowered Snake Root is found in Peninsular India and NE India. Flowering: June-July.
Medicinal uses: Dense-Flowered Snake Root is used in China to treat snake poisoning, malaria, and typhus. The roots are used to treat hypertension and as a sedative.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale, Shrikant Ingalhalikar Photographed in Maharashtra & The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.

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