Devil's Cotton
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Devil's Cotton
ative Photo: Pravir Deshmukh
Common name: Devil's Cotton, Cotton Abroma • Kannada: ದೆವ್ವಹತ್ತಿ Devva hatti,ಭಂಗಿಮರ Bhangi mara ,ಮೇಲ್ಪುಂಡಿಗಿಡ Melpundi gida • Nepali: Chinne, Sanu kapase, Ulatkambal, Pisach karpas
Botanical name: Abroma augusta    Family: Sterculiaceae (Cacao family)
Synonyms: Abroma alata, Abroma angusta, Ambroma augustum

Devil's Cotton is a large spreading shrub, or a small tree, with fibrous bark and irritant hairs. It grows up to 2.5 m tall with hairy branches. Leaves are ovate-oblong long-pointed, with a heart-shaped base, 10-21 cm long, 5.5-13 cm wide. Leaf blade is 3-7 nerved, with margins unevenly toothed. Flowers are maroon, up to 5 cm across, looking down, in few-flowered clusters in leaf axils. Sepals are lance- shaped, fused at base. Petals are 5, which soon fall off, concave below, prolonged above into a spoon-shaped blade. Capsule is papery, 5-winged, cut-off at the tip. The fibre from the bark makes a pliable and attractive rope which is used in fishing nets. Devil's Cotton is found in the Himalayas and NE India. Flowering: June-September.
Medicinal uses: The fresh viscid sap of the root bark is considered to be a valuable emenagogue and uterine tonic. The root has also been applied to treat itch.

Identification credit: Pravir Deshmukh Photographed in Lohit Distt, Arunachal Pradesh & Maharashtra.

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