Sweet Leaf Bush
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Sweet Leaf Bush
P Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Sweet Leaf Bush, Star Gooseberry, Multi vitamin plant • Adi: Gam oying • Kannada: ಚಕ್ರಾನೀ Chakraani, ಚಕ್ರಮುನಿ Chakramuni • Khasi: Dieng-soh-pit • Malayalam: Madhuracheera, Cucurumanicheera • Tamil: Pallikkarputu, Thavasi Keerai • Mizo: Midum-an
Botanical name: Sauropus androgynus    Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Phyllanthus androgynus, Phyllanthus strictus

Sweet Leaf Bush is herbaceous shrub, 1-3 m tall, can go up to 6 m in the wild. It is a slender shrub, with short lateral branching. Leaves are ovate-lanceshaped, oblong-lanceshaped, or lanceshaped, 3-10 × 1.5-3.5 cm, growing in distinctly opposite pairs along stems, edible with slightly nutty or pea-like flavour. Stems are vertical, somewhat woody. The plant has separate male and female flowers on same plant. Flowers are without petals, small but prominently produced in leaf axils. Female flowers have 6 red sepals surrounding a single creamy-coloured pistil, male flowers have 6 creamy sepals enclosing 3 reddish stamens. Fruits are white explosive, 1.2 x 1.7 cm with persistent red sepals and many black seeds. Sweet Leaf Bush is found in the Himalayas, from Nepal to Sikkim, also in Western Ghats, Ceylon, Indo-China, S. China, W. Malaysia, at altitudes of 500-900 m. Flowering: April-July.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are used as a medicine for coughs and to soothe the lungs, as a tonic, and as a febrifugal to relieve internal fever; they are also used as a vegetable.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Kannur distt., Kerala & East Siang, Arunachal Pradesh.

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