Botanical name: Pedalium murex Family: Pedaliaceae (sesame family)
Large Caltrops is a shrubby, stiff-stemmed herb, native to India, grown for reputed medicinal and other uses. It is diffuse annual, much branched, spreading, succulent, glandular, up to 60 cm tall. Roots similar to turmeric in colour. Leaves simple, opposite, ovate or oblong-obovate, 1-4.5 cm long, irregularly and coarsely crenate-serrate. Yellow flowers 1.5-2 cm across, stalk 1-2 mm long, increasing up to 4 mm in fruit. Sepals 2 mm long; teeth linear, scaly outside, persistent. Petals fused into a broad tube, 1-3 cm long; lobes obtuse. Stamens 0.5-1 cm long; anthers kidney shaped. The four angled seed is with 5 extremely sharp spines. It is an important famine food - leaves eaten as vegetable.
Medicinal uses: Leaves are antibilious. Seeds are demulcant, diuretic, tonic, muscilaginous and aphrodesiac. Used in male impotence, gonorrhoea, and incontinence.
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