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E Native Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Nongmangkha • Assamese: তিতাফূল Titaaphul • Bihar: Chuhai • Khasi: Dieng-soh kajut • Tangkhul: Sipchang • Nepali: चुवा Chuwaa, तिते Tite • Maring: Shimrim • Mizo: Kawldai-par-eng
Botanical name: Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Justicia thyrsiflora Roxb., Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus

Nongmangkha is a shrub 3-7 ft tall. Leaves are large, lanceshaped, hairless, about 20 cm long and about 2 cm wide, tapering at both ends. Flowers are borne in thyrses 10-30 cm long, borne at branch ends, or on short lateral branches, on short flower-cluster-stalks. Sepals (calyx teeth) are 6-8 mm long, densely velvet-hairy, bracts 6 mm long, linear. Flowers are wide-tube-shaped, 2-lipped, orange, closely hairy. Tube is broad from the base, curved; upper lip nearly erect and the lower one spreading. Stamens are hairless or slightly hairy near the base of the filaments, style hairless. Capsule is 3 cm long, 4 mm wide, somewhat quadrangular, hairless, 12-14-seeded. Seeds are much compressed, circular in outline, densely hairy, hairs elastically spreading when moistened. Nongmangkha is found in subtropical Himalayas, from Garhwal to Bhutan and NE India, at altitudes up to 1000 m.
Medicinal uses: Whole plant is used like Adhatoda vasica in whooping cough and menorrhagia. Fruits and leaves are burnt and prescribed for fevers. In Manipur, local people prefer it to Malabar Nut (Justicia adhatoda) It is useful for curing coughs, colds and asthma and is easy to administer. Flowers are antidote to pox, prevents skin diseases like sore, scabies etc.

Identification credit: Tabish, Thingnam Girija Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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