Eight Stamen Osbeckia   
Foto info
Eight Stamen Osbeckia
ative Photo: Rajah Jayapal
Common name: Eight Stamen Osbeckia • Sanskrit: Heen bowitiya
Botanical name: Osbeckia octandra    Family: Melastomataceae (Melastome family)
Synonyms: Melastoma octandrum, Asterostoma octandra

Eight Stamen Osbeckia is a much-branched shrublet, up to 2 m tall. Branches are rather sparsely velvety with prostrate or spreading hairs. Leaves are elliptic, 1.5-6 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide, rounded to pointed at the base, with a pointed tip. Leaves are 3-nerved, generally hairless or sparsely velvety, carried on a 1-5 mm long stalk. Flowers are few, up to 19, borne in loose clusters. Sepals are triangular, 2-4 mm long, bristled at the tip. Petals are 1.5-1.9 cm long, pink to mauve or purple. Stamens are 8, as the species name octandra suggests, with large, narrowly ovate anthers, 6-8.5 mm long, twisted. Eight Stamen Osbeckia is supposed to be endemic to Sri Lanka, but we found it growing wild in Tamil Nadu.
Medicinal uses: Ayurvedic and other traditional medical practitioners in Sri Lanka use the mature leaves of the Eight Stamen Osbeckia for its hepatoprotective properties. The juice extracted from its leaves is an effective treatment for liver damage caused by Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) poisoning.

Identification credit: Rajah Jayapal
Photographed in Meghamalai, Tamil Nadu.
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