River Astilbe
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River Astilbe
ative Photo: Sanjyoti Subba
Common name: River Astilbe • Hindi: Gosy, Pothee • Nepali: बुढो ओखती Budho Okhati • Nepali: ठुलो औषधि Thulo Aushadhee, बुढो औषधी Budho Aushadhee, बेदाङ्गो Bedaanggo, गाने गुर्जो Gaane Gurjo
Botanical name: Astilbe rivularis    Family: Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)
Synonyms: Astilbe indica, Astilbe speciosa

River Astilbe is a herb 1-1.5 m tall. Leaves are compound, lower leaflets usually further divided. Leaflets are 3-5, 3-8 cm long, ovate, long-pointed, base sometimes heart-shaped, stalked to stalkless, rough, especially on the veins. Leaf-stalks and rachis are covered with long hairs, tufted at the base of leaflet-stalks. Stipules are about 1 cm long, adnate to the leaf-stalk. Flowers are borne in long terminal branch pyramidal clusters of tiny greenish yellow flowers. Peduncle is glandular villous. Flowers are bracteate, bracts lanceshaped, about 2 mm long. Sepals are 5,1.5 mm long, ovate, basally adnate to the ovary, persistent. Petals are absent. Stamens are 5, opposite the sepals, filaments 2.5 mm long. Carpels are connivent, oval, about 1.5 mm, each prolonged into a short style, less than 1 mm long. Capsules are about 4 mm long, splitting longitudinally into 2 valves. Seeds are numerous, 2 mm long, tailed at both ends. River Astilbe is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Bhutan, Assam, S. Tibet, Thailand, N. Indo-China, W. China, at altitudes of 2000-3600 m. Flowering: June-September.
Medicinal uses: In traditional medicine, the juice of the plant is applied to sprains and swellings. Root paste is mixed with honey and taken to control post-partum diarrhoea and dysentery.

Identification credit: Sanjyoti Subba Photographed in Fambong-Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, Sikkim.

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