Acanthus ilicifolius

Acanthus ilicifolius L. (Acanthaceae)

(2n = 44, 48)










Syn : Acanthus doloarius Blanco, Dilivaria iIicifolia Nees

Sanskrit name: Harikasa.

Vernacular names: Ben: Hargoza, Harkachkanta; Kan : Holeculli; Mal: Payinaculli; Mar: Maranda, Maraneli; Ori : Harkamcli; Tam: Kalutai mulli; Tel: Alei.

Trade name: Harkasa.

Traditional use: TRIBES OF SUNDARBANS: Root (boiled in mustard oil): in paralysis of limbs; FOLKS OF GOA: Leaf: as fomentation in rheumatism and neuralgia.

Modern use: Plant: in asthma; Decoction of plant: in dyspepsia; Leaf and tender shoot: in snake bite; Root: in asthma, paralysis, leucorrhoea and debility; Leaf: as fomentation in rheumatism, neuralgia and in snake bite.

Phytography : Erect herb; stems up to 1.5 m, in clumps, little divided, glabrous; leaves shortly petioled, oblong or elliptic, base usually spinous, toothed or, pinnatifid,rigid, glabrous; spikes 10-40 cm, terminal, commonly solitary; flowers mostly opposite, bract and bracteoles present, sepals 4, outer 2 elliptic rounded, inner 2 broadly lanceolate, subacute, petals 5, blue, united, 2-lipped, corolla tube short, pubescent within, stamens 4, didynamous, shorter than coroll_ lip, filaments stout, anthers 1-lobed, bearded, carpels 2, united, ovary 2-chambered having 2 ovules in chamber, style short, bifid; capsules shining chestnut-brown, ellipsoid, compressed, 0.6-0.8 cm long; testa white, very lax.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: almost throughout the year.

Distribution: Mangroves of Indian peninsula; Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the adjoining areas.

Ecology and cultivation: Commonly grown on the river banks, tidal canal sides, low swampy areas in the mangrove forests and its vicinity; wild.

Chemical contents: Plant: acanthicifoline, oleanolic acid, β-sitosterol, lupeol, quercetin and its glucopyranoside, trigonellin; Root: saponin, glycoside of 3α-OH-lup-20(29)-ene.

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