Spiral Nightshade
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Spiral Nightshade
E Native Photo: Angela Pangkam
Common name: Spiral Nightshade, Spiral Bittersweet • Adi: Bangko • Assamese: Titakuchi • Hindi: Mungaskajur • Manipuri: ꯂꯝ ꯈꯥꯃꯦꯟ Lam Khamen • Mizo: Ram-anhling, Anhlingsuak • Tangkhul: Hanchonghan
Botanical name: Solanum spirale    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Solanum apoense, Solanum naratida

Spiral Nightshade is an evergreen shrub becoming hairless, with stems erect, 0.5-3 m tall, drying grooved angled. Flowers are borne in leaf opposed or extra-in leaf-axils, short, simple spiral racemes. Flower-cluster-stalks are 3-12 mm, later bearing prominent flower-stalk scars. Flower-stalks are 1.5-2.5 cm, deflexed at anthesis. Calyx is 2-3 mm, (4- or) 5-lobed; sepals triangular, 0.5-1 mm. Flowers are white, 8-10 mm, lobed about 3/4 way to base. Filaments are about 1 mm; anthers 3-3.5 mm. Style about 7 mm. Fruiting flower-stalks are deflexed. Leaves are unequally paired; leaf-stalk 5-10 mm; blade of major leaf narrowly elliptic to elliptic, 9-22 x 4-11 cm, hairless above, base narrowed, margin entire, tip tapering; blade of minor leaf, 5-7 x 1.6-3 cm. Berry is dull yellow-orange, spherical, 1.1-1.6 cm in diameter. Seeds are yellow or tan, kidney-shaped-discoid, 3-3.5 x 2.5-3 mm. Tender leaves are locally eaten in Yunnan and NE India as a vegetable. Fruit eaten both raw and cooked. Spiral Nightshade is found in NE India, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Bhutan, Bangladesh, at altitudes of 500-1900 m. Flowering: May-July.
Medicinal uses: The roots are used as an anaesthetic and diuretic. The bark is broken and soaked in cold water, then used as a febrifuge for adults and infants.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in East Siang district, Arunachal Pradesh.

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