Common Derris
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Common Derris
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Common Derris • Bengali: কালিয়া লতা kaliya lata, কালীলতা kalilata, পান লতা panlata • Hindi: पान लता panlata • Kannada: ಕ್ರಿಮಿನಾಶಿ kriminashi • Konkani: फिर्ता firta, करंजवेल karanjvel • Malayalam: പൊന്നാംവള്ളി ponnanvalli • Marathi: करंज वेल karanj vel • Odia: କେଟିଆ ketia • Telugu: నల్లతీగ nallatiga Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Derris trifoliata    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Derris uliginosa, Pongamia uliginosa, Robinia uliginosa

Common Derris is probably the only common climber that grows in mangroves. It is a perennial climber, or a much branched climbing evergreen shrub. The tap roots are deep sunken and without any aerial outgrowth. Alternately arranged leaves are compound, upto 15 cm long, with 3, 5 or 7 leaflets.. Leaflets are elliptic oblong, margin not toothed, sharp tipped, dark green. Inflorescences are racemes on peduncles. Flowers resemble those of Pongam Tree very much. Flowers are 1 cm long, light pink, pea-like. The slightly wrinkled fruits are disc-like, 3-4 cm by 2 cm, with 2-3 seeds. The leaves contain the chemical compound rotenone, a poison that kills a wide range of creatures from insects to earthworms and fish.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed near Chenna creek, Thane, Maharashtra.

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