Vegetable Sesame
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Vegetable Sesame
A Naturalized Photo: Preetha P.S.
Common name: Vegetable Sesame
Botanical name: Sesamum radiatum    Family: Pedaliaceae (Sesame family)
Synonyms: Sesamum mombazense, Sesamum talbotii, Sesamum thonneri

Vegetable Sesame is an erect annual herb, 1-1.5 m tall. Stem are 4-angled, hairy. Lower leaves are variously lobed; upper becoming smaller, elliptic to oblong, all bullate hairy on both surfaces. Flowers are borne singly in leaf-axils. Flowers are pinkish; tube funnel-shaped, 1.5-5 x 1-1.3 cm, scattered glandular hairy outside, 2-lipped, 5-lobed, hairy within. Stamens are 4, didynamous, not protruding. Flower-stalks are 0.5-0.6 cm long. Sepal-cup is 5-lobed; sepals 0.4-0.5 cm long, ovate, glandular hairy. Capsule is 2-2.5 x 0.7-1 cm, 4-lobed, oblong, blunt at tip, densely hairy outside. Seeds are minute, obovate, compressed, arranged in 4 rows, brown on drying. Vegetable Sesame is native to Africa, but naturalized in India. It is an important vegetable commonly consumed in Nigeria and many other parts of the tropics.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are also used medicinally as a laxative, an antidote to scorpion venom and to treat sprains and ease childbirth. The stem and bark have also been noted for their anti-bacterial properties.

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

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