Fiji Arrowroot
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Fiji Arrowroot
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Fiji Arrowroot, batflower, East Indian arrowroot, Polynesian arrowroot, Tahiti arrowroot • Assamese: কেতুৰী keturi • Hindi: बाघ मूंछ bagh-moochh, देवकन्द devkanda • Kannada: ದೈವಕಂದ daeva kaanda, ಹಂದಿಗೆಡ್ಡೆ handigedde, ಸೂರಣಗಡ್ಡೆ suranagadde • Konkani: देवकंद devakamdo, कोळ्याचो माड kolyacho mad, सरडेचो माड sardecho mad, ಸೂರ್ಣು surnu • Malayalam: കാട്ടുചേന kattuchena • Marathi: देवकंद devakanda, जटाशंकर jatashankar, पेणघागरा penghagara, तवकीराच झाड towkiracha jhad • Odia: ଧୋଇ dhoi • Sanskrit: देवकन्द devakanda, सूर्ण surna • Tamil: சேனை cenai, ககனம் kakanam, காறாக்கருணை kara-k-karunai, காட்டுக்கருணை kattu-k-karuna • Telugu: అడవిదుంప adavi dumpa, కంద kanda, పెద్ద కంద గడ్డ pedda kanda gadda, రిత్త కంద ritta kanda • Tulu: ಕಾಟ್ಟುಕೇನೆ kattukene Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Tacca leontopetaloides    Family: Dioscoreaceae (Yam family)
Synonyms: Tacca hawaiiensis, Tacca involucrata, Tacca pinnatifida

Fiji Arrowroot is a perennial herb naturally distributed from western Africa through southeast Asia to northern Australia. The leaf's upper surface has depressed veins, and the under surface is shiny with bold yellow veins. Greenish purple flowers are borne on tall stalks in clusters, with long trailing whisker-like bracts. The plant is usually dormant for part of the year and dies down to the ground. Later, new leaves will arise from the round underground tuber. The tubers are hard and potato-like, with a brown skin and white interior. The tubers of Polynesian arrowroot contain starch that was an important food source for many Pacific Island cultures, primarily for the inhabitants of low islands and atolls. Polynesian arrowroot was prepared into a flour to make a variety of puddings.
Medicinal uses: In traditional Hawaiian medicine the raw tubers were eaten to treat stomach ailments. Mixed with water and red clay, the plant was consumed to treat diarrhea and dysentery. This combination was also used to stop internal hemorrhaging in the stomach and colon and applied to wounds to stop bleeding.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed at Saphale Ghat, Maharashtra.

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