Spreading Lindernia
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Spreading Lindernia
A Naturalized Photo: Preetha P.S.
Common name: Spreading Lindernia
Botanical name: Vandellia diffusa    Family: Linderniaceae (Lindernia family)
Synonyms: Lindernia diffusa, Riedelia officinalis, Pyxidaria diffusa

Spreading Linderniais an annual spreading or creeping herb, spreads up to 30 cm long, rooting at the nodes. Stem is 4-angled, velvet-hairy, hairs more on angles. Leaves are ovate or round, stalkless, margins rounded toothed or shallowly sawtoothed, base somewhat heart-shaped or rounded, tip pointed or somewhat pointed, hairless above, sparsely hairy on veins beneath, pinnately 3-5 veined. Flowers arise singly in leaf axils, stalkless or nearly so, white with purplish tinge on the upper lip. Sepal-cup is tubular, keeled, 7.5-2 mm, pale green, bristly, distinctly 5-lobed, sepals unequal, as long as or slightly longer than 3 mm long tube. Flowers are creamy white with purplish tinge on the upper lip, tube about 5 mm long, cylindrical, widens towards the tip, upper lip 3 x 3 mm, tip somewhat pointed, purplish, hairless, lower lip distinctly 3 lobed, white with yellow marking on mid portion where lower stamens arise, lobes rounded, 3 x 2 mm. Stamens are 4, all fertile. Capsules are 12 x 3 mm, hairless, ovate-linear, fruiting sepal-cup 3⁄4 length of fruit. Spreading Lindernia is native to NE Türkiye to Caucasus, Tropical Africa, Madagascar. It is naturalized in India, growing in the sandy soils in south-west coast of India (Travancore coast).
Medicinal uses: The whole plant is bitter, emetic, febrifuge, mucilaginous, mildly purgative. A decoction is used to treat both continual and intermittent fevers, bilious fevers, dysentery and liver ailments. It is said to stimulate contractions of the uterus, so is used to facilitate childbirth and also induce an abortion. It is also used in the treatment of yaws.

Identification credit: Preetha P.S. Photographed in Vizhinjam, Kerala.

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