Himalayan Barrenwort
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Himalayan Barrenwort
P Native Photo: Adil Abdullah
Common name: Himalayan Barrenwort, Mosquito herb, Himalayan Bishop¬ís hat, Horny goat weed • Hindi: Saul sumbal, Chhal kambli
Botanical name: Epimedium elatum    Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry family)
Synonyms: Epimedium hydaspidis

Himalayan Barrenwort is an erect perennial herb, about 2-5 ft tall. Flowers are borne in panicles, hairless or glandular, about 20-30 cm long. Flowers are bisexual, yellowish white, flower-stalks thread-like, 0.5-2 cm long, bracts minute, sepals 8 in 2 series, inner series. Sepals are petal-like, ovate lanceshaped, tip pointed, about 1-2 mm long, petals 4, opposite to the sepals, about 2-3 mm long. Stamens are 4, opposite to petals, about 5 mm long, anther-locules opening by recurved oblong valves, linear, about 1.5 mm long, filaments almost equal to the ovary, ovary simple, solitary, linear, style slender,sigma dilated. Stems are solitary, hairless. Leaves are ternately compound, 2-3 ternate, 15-30 cm across, leaflets ovate-heart-shaped, 1.5-7 x 1.2-3.5 cm across, margin spinous-toothed, tip pointed with spinous tip, oblique, papery, somewhat membranous, leaf-stalk base swollen, about 8-10 cm long, stipulate. Fruits short capsules, 2 valved, unequal, about 5-10 mm across. Seeds 2-3, with fleshy aril, smooth, about 2 mm across, dull black. Himalayan Barrenwort is found in from Pakistan to Kashmir and W. Himalaya, at altitudes of 2000-2500 m.
Medicinal uses: In Kashmir, West Himalayan Barrenwort has been used traditionally as an ingredient in many medicines to treat cold related cough, severe running nose, toothache, tooth-decay, bones and joints diseases. It was found to be an important component of various secret winter herbal teas and tonics, used by tribal communities in forests of Jammu and Kashmir.

Identification credit: Shakir Ahmad Photographed in Kupwara, kashmir.

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