Botanical name: Ruellia patula Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Dipteracanthus patulus, Dipteracanthus erectus, Petalidium patulum
Spreading Ruellia is an erect, hoary velvet-hairy, much branched shrubless, up to 50 cm tall. It is basally woody, with quadrangular twigs. Leaves are carried on 4-10 mm long leaf-stalks. Leaves are elliptic-ovate, rarely obovate, 1.5-5 x 1-3 cm, densely velvet-hairy on both sides, entire, basally rounded, blunt or somewhat pointed. Flowers are pale-white or pale-violet, stalkless, 3-4 cm long, usually solitary in leaf-axils, rarely 2-3 in cymes; bracteoles leafy, elliptic-spoon-shaped or ovate, 8-10 mm x 6-7 mm, blunt, stalked. Sepals are linear-lanceshaped, 4-5 mm long, fringed with hairs, equal, pointed. Flower tube is up to 3 cm long, funnel-shaped, petals nearly round, 8-10 mm long, blunt. Staminal filaments hairless, anthers oblong, about 2 mm long. Ovary hairless, about 2 mm long; style thread-like, 2-3 cm long, hairy. Capsule is elliptic-club-shaped, 1.4-1.8 cm long, hairless, 8-10-seeded. Seeds flat, ± round, about 3 mm across. Spreading Ruellia is found in Tropical Africa, Arabia, Pakistan, SW India and Sri Lanka. Flowering: September-March.
Medicinal uses: In folk medicine, Spreading Ruellia is used in the treatment of gonorrhea, syphilis, eye sore, renal infection, cough, wounds, scalds, toothache, stomach-ache and kidney stones. The kani tribes of Kilamalai, India used this plant as a remedy for the bite of special species of spider known as Tiger spider.
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