Blue Pussyleaf
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Blue Pussyleaf
aturalized Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Blue Pussyleaf
Botanical name: Nelsonia canescens    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Justicia canescens, Justicia brunelloides, Nelsonia brunelloides

Blue Pussyleaf is a softly velvety trailing or erect herb of shaded locations, often stream-beds of the savanna grasslands in Africa. It is naturalized in India and many other parts of the tropical world. Stems are up to 35 cm long, most parts densely covered in soft spreading hairs. Oppositely arranged leaves are elliptic, with margin entire. Flowers are borne in cylindrical spikes at the end of branches, with ovate, glandular and hairy bracts. Flowers are 2-lipped, mauve-blue, purplish or white, with 5 petals. Capsule are oblong, slightly beaked.
Medicinal uses: It is known as a salt-substitute.The sap of the leaves is applied topically to guineaworm sores in Ivory Coast-Upper Volta to kill the causative parasite. Nupe of Northern Nigeria prepare a brew of the plant for treating smallpox, and in Tanganyika the sap is taken for diarrhoea and the root in decoction for schistosomiasis.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed at Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Maharashtra.
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