Indian Coleus
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Indian Coleus
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Indian Coleus • Hindi: Makandi, पत्थरचूर Patharchur, पाषाणभेदी Pashan bhedi • Kannada: ಮಾಗಳಿ Maagali • Marathi: Karmelo • Nepali: गन्धे झार Gandhe jhar
Botanical name: Plectranthus barbatus    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Coleus barbatus, Coleus forskohlii, Plectranthus forskohlii

Indian Coleus is a densely hairy perennial herb, with pale blue flowers arranged in whorls, forming long leafless interrupted spikes. Flowers are up to 2 cm long, tube bent abruptly downward, longer than the sepal cup. Flowers are 2-lipped, the upper lip short, turned back, 3-lobed, the lower much longer, boat-shaped, pointed. Sepal cup is hairy, bell-shaped, with lanceshaped, prickly-tipped sepals. Bracts are broadly ovate, pointed, overlapping in bud, soon falling. Leaves are ovate to oblong, blunt, rounded-toothed, short-stalked, 5-8 cm long. They are arranged in opposite pairs perpendicular to each other, along a 1-3 ft tall stem. Indian Coleus is found in the Himalayas, from Uttarakhand to Bhutan, at altitudes of 1200-2400 m. It is also found in Western Ghats. Flowering: August-October.
Medicinal uses: In Ayurvedic medicine Coleus species have been used to treat heart disease, convulsions, spasmodic pain and painful urination.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed at Chandan-Vandan Fort, Satara, Maharashtra.

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