Creeping Snakeherb
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Creeping Snakeherb
aturalized Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Creeping Snakeherb
Botanical name: Dyschoriste radicans    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Ruellia radicans, Calophanes radicans

Creeping Snakeherb is a creeping, shortly hairy or hairless semi-woody herb with a woody rootstock. Stems are sometimes rooting, and 80 cm long. Leaves are oppositely arranged, obovate, 1-5 cm long and 0.5-2 cm wide, rounded at the top or flat with a short tip. Flowers are borne singly or 2-3 in axils of leaves, and are almost stalkless. Sepal cup is tubular, 8-12 mm long, about half divided into pointed sepals. Flowers are is tubular, somewhat 2-lipped - upper lip divided into 2 lobes, lower one divided into 3 lobes. Flowers are 1.0-2.0 cm long, at the mouth 3-7 mm in diameter, blue, sometimes cream. The lower mid-lobe is speckled woth darker spots. Stamens are 4, sometimes reduced to 2 staminodes. The fruit is a capsule 1.0-1.4 cm long. Creeping Snakeherb is native to Africa, probably naturalized in peninsuler India.
Medicinal uses: In Africa, infusion of leaves is used for skin diseases, wounds, eye infections, toothache, diarrhoea. Fresh roots are chewed for snakebites.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed at Valliyoor, Tamilnadu.

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