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P Native Unknown Photo: Ankit Singh
Common name: Barmola • Hindi: बरमोला Barmola, Rooki, रुगी Rugee • Nepali: रुगा साग Ruga sag
Botanical name: Megacarpaea polyandra    Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Barmola is a perennial (quite likely endangered) herb, native to western Himalaya. It is one of the giant alpine herbs, growing up to 2 m tall. Stem is hollow, erect much branching. Leaves are cut in a double compounded form, basal leaves having long stalks, stem leaves short leaf-stalked or stalkless. Flowers are borne in profusely flowered racemes. Flowers are pale yellow, sepals yellowish, oblong, 3.5-5 x 1.5-2.5 mm, sparsely velvet-hairy or hairless. Petals are pale yellow, oblong or obovate, entire, 4-6 x 2-4 mm, base wedge-shaped, tip rounded to somewhat pointed. Stamens re 8-12, more than the usual six stamens, a feature that distinguishes it from the other species of the mustard family. Flower-stalks are not slender, but are thread-like in fruit. Fruit is large, nearly-round, disclike 3-3.5 cm long, 3.5-5 cm broad, bilobed, deeply notched at the tip and slightly at the base; wing about as broad as the locule; seed about 1 cm in diameter, nearly round, not winged or margined, brown. Barmola is found growing on slopes, rock crevices in alpine and subalpine zone of West and Central Himalaya to Tibet, at altitudes of 3000-4000 m. Flowering-May-July.
Medicinal uses: Roots are used as medicine against fever, a febrifuge and tonic. Decoctions of the root are used to cure stomach pain and dysentery. Locally, dry leaves are fried with ghee for the treatment of dysentery.

Identification credit: Ankit Singh Photographed in Tungnath, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand.

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