Desert Swallow-Wort
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Desert Swallow-Wort
P Native Photo: Sarman Ratiya
Common name: Desert Swallow-Wort • Gujarati: દુધલા Dudhla • Rajasthan: दोधा Dodha, खीरड़ी Kheerdi, Khiroli • Urdu: Munga
Botanical name: Cynanchum registanense    Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Cynanchum varians, Glossonema varians, Glossonema edule

Desert Swallow-Wort is a perennial herb 8-20 cm tall, branches velvet-hairy. The species name registanense comes from the Urdu word ray-gi-staan, meaning desert, as this is a desert plant. Leaves are fleshy, 2.5-7 x 1.8-5 cm, lower rotund ovate, somewhat heart-shaped, blunt or flat, upper elliptic tapering, margin slightly to strongly wavy; leaf-stalk 6-22 mm long. Flowers are borne in nearly stalkless, umbel-like, 2-8 flowered cymes, fragrant. Flowers are white to yellow, 6-7 mm long, hairless, petals 3-5 mm long, blunt. Flower-stalks are short, sepal-cup hairy, divided almost to the base, sepals 3.4 mm long, linear pointed. Corona lobes are about 2.5 mm long, entire or bifid. Fruits are 2.5-5 cm long, ellipsoid, covered with spine-like objects and minutely gray-hairy. Seeds are 4-6.6 mm long, broadly ovate, pointed, flat with papery margin, coma 1.2-1.3 cm long, white. Fruits, called Khiroli in Rajasthan, are eaten raw. Desert Swallow-Wort is found in the desert or dry shrubland, from Arabian Peninsula to NW India.
Medicinal uses: The fruits are used by traditional people in Rajasthan as tonic and energy promoter. The fruits are also used as medicine by local people of Thar in general fatigue, cough and throat infections.

Identification credit: Sarman Ratiya Photographed in Jaru, Anjar, Kutch, Gujarat.

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