Indian Milkwort
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Indian Milkwort
A Native Photo: Raja Ghosh
Common name: Indian Milkwort, Chinese Milkwort • Bengali: Nilkanta • Hindi: Meradu • Kannada: Belesoppu, Bili cheeni Kanigalu, Ghuntaani, Meradu • Malayalam: Amrithanjan chedi • Marathi: नेगली Negli • Tamil: Chiriya nankai, Siriyanangai • Telugu: Nelajanumu
Botanical name: Polygala chinensis    Family: Polygalaceae (Milkwort family)
Synonyms: Polygala glomerata

Indian Milkwort is an annual, erect herb, 10-25 cm tall. Stems are woody at base; branches round, crisped velvet-hairy. Leaf-stalks are about 1 mm, velvet-hairy; leaf blade green, obovate, elliptic, or lanceshaped, 2.6-10 x 1-1.5 cm, papery, velvet-hairy, midvein raised below, impressed above, lateral veins few, obscure, base wedge-shaped to rounded or heart-shaped, margin entire, slightly recurved, tip blunt, with a short sharp point, or tapering. Flowers are borne in racemes in leaf-axils, shorter than leaves, only about 1 cm, densely few flowered. Flower-stalks are about 1.5 mm, flowers about 4.5 mm. Petals are 3, fused at base, yellowish or white with pink; lateral petals shorter than keel, keel about 4 mm, tip with 2 fascicled appendages. Stamens are 8, lower 1/2 united forming an open staminal sheath, split in upper 1/2 into 8 free filaments. Sepals are 5, persistent, green, fringed with hairs; outer sepals 3, ovate-lanceshaped, about 2 mm, tip tapering; inner sepals 2, petal-like, curved, about 4.5 mm, prominently 4- or 5-veined, base unguiculate, tip tapering. Capsule is spherical, about 2 mm in diameter, narrowly winged, fringed with hairs, tip flat. Indian Milkwort is found in Tropical & Subtropical Asia to Australia. Flowering: April-October.
Medicinal uses: In Manipur, decoction of shoots is given in inflammatory conditions. Infusion is given in asthma.

Identification credit: Raja Ghosh Photographed at Jamshedpur outskirts, Jharkhand.

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