Himalayan Star Anise
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Himalayan Star Anise
E Native Photo: Niku Das
Common name: Himalayan Star Anise • Arunachal: Lissi, Munsheng, Dombushing, Loshu, Taihelangin
Botanical name: Illicium griffithii    Family: Schisandraceae (Magnolia vine family)
Synonyms: Badianifera griffithii, Ternstroemia khasyana

Himalayan Star Anise is a tree up to 30 m tall. Leaves are in clusters of 3-5 at distal nodes; leaf-stalk 0.7-1.7 cm; leaf blade oblong-elliptic to narrowly obovate-elliptic, 7-13 x 2-5.5 cm, leathery, midvein above prominently impressed, secondary veins 7-10 on each side of midvein, below prominent, and above impressed to slightly raised, base narrowly wedge-shaped, tip tapering. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils or at branch-ends, carried on flower-cluster-stalk 1-2 cm long. Tepals are 25 or 26, oblong-obovate (inner), 4-10 x 2.5-10 mm (inner), papery to thinly leathery (outer) to fleshy (inner). Stamens are about 30, 2.3-2.7 mm; filaments 1.1-1.4 mm; anthers 1-1.4 mm. Fruiting stalk is 1.5-4.7 cm. Fruit is composed of 12 or 13 follicles; follicles 1.4-2 x 0.8-1 x 0.3-0.5 cm. Seeds are about 7 x 5 x 2-2.5 mm. Himalayan Star Anise is found in forests at altitudes of 1200-2300 m in Bhutan, NE India, Cambodia, Malaya. Flowering: April-May.
Medicinal uses: The local communities in Arunachal Pradesh have been using the plant for centuries to cure abdominal pain, sinusitis, vomiting, cough, food poisoning, toothache and dyspepsia. Apart from its use against ailments it is also used for preparing sugar or butter salt tea, food preservative, as spice, and to improve the strength of local alcohol.

Identification credit: Niku Das Photographed in Eaglenest Wildlife sanctuary, West Kameng distt., Arunachal Pradesh.

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