Longleaf Koala Bells
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Longleaf Koala Bells
P Native Photo: Arunraj Kedharam
Common name: Longleaf Koala Bells • Kannada: ನೀರ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ Neermalli • Malayalam: Kolivalan, Vathom-varetti, Bahel-chulli, Vayalchulli • Sanskrit: कोकिलाक्षा Kokilaksha, कोकिलाक्षः Kokilakshah, Iksrua • Tamil: நீர்மல்லி Neermalli
Botanical name: Artanema longifolium    Family: Linderniaceae (Lindernia family)
Synonyms: Artanema sesamoides, Columnea longifolia

Longleaf Koala Bells is an undershrub, with attractive blue flowers. Flowers are borne in racemes at branch-ends, up to 20 cm long. Flowers are stalkless, up to 2.5 cm long; sepal-cup 1.2 cm long, bell-shaped, divided to the middle, sepals tapering, hairless. Flowers are 2-lipped, deep violet, upper lip round or notched, lower lip 3-lobed, lobes round; stamens 4, style long, slender, stigma spoon-shaped. Leaves are opposite, up to 20 x 8 cm, elliptic, tapering, sawtoothed, narrowed at base, hairless; nerves up to 6 pairs, distinct below; leaf-stalk short or absent. Capsules are 7 x 8 mm, depressed spherical; seeds cylindrical, puberulus, brown. Leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Longleaf Koala Bells is found in Indo-Malesia and parts of Africa. Flowering: August-December.
Medicinal uses: An aqueous extract of the plant is a component of Ayurvedic medicines used against inflammations of the skeleto-muscular system. It is also used against nausea. A decoction of the root is used in the treatment of rheumatism, diarrhoea, syphilis and ophthalmia. ]. The seeds are used as a cure for biliousness, to improve vitality and favour conception[

Identification credit: Arunraj Kedharam Photographed in Idukki district, Kerala.

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