Five-Stamen Horse Purslane
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Five-Stamen Horse Purslane
P Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Five-Stamen Horse Purslane • Hindi: Itsit • Tamil: Sakthichaaranai
Botanical name: Zaleya pentandra    Family: Aizoaceae (Ice plant family)
Synonyms: Zaleya sennii, Rocama arabica, Trianthema pentandrum

Five-Stamen Horse Purslane is a spreading prostrate perennial herb, with stem papillose to hairless. Leaves are 1.5-4.0 cm long, 0.6-2.7 cm broad, oblong to obovate, papillose; leaf-stalk 8-11 mm long, with a sheathing base. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, singly or 2-5, stalkless. Bract are solitary, ovate-lanceshaped, about 3 mm long; bracteoles 2-3, unequal, scarious. Sepal-cup is persistent, papillose, sepals oblong ovate, about 2 mm long, margin white. Stamens are 5, alternating with the sepals, filaments about 2 mm long, dilated at the base. Ovary about 2 mm long, ob-pyramidal, papillose; styles 2, about 1-2 mm long, linear, slightly curved, persistent. The seed-capsule is 1.4-5mm long, 4-seeded, splitting longitudinally, lid mitreform, about 2 mm broad, margin irregularly lobed; amphora 2 seeded. Seeds are 1.5 mm long, black, rugose. Five-Stamen Horse Purslane is native of Africa to Israel and Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan to India.
Medicinal uses: The above-ground parts of the plant are used as a stomachic and treatment for gonorrhoea. The plant is dried and powdered and taken with millet beer. This sets up acute inflammation of the urino-genitary tract resulting in haematuria, vomiting and bloody stools, and thus a 'purging' of the infection. This treatment may have homeopathic connotations.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

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