Indian Belladonna
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Indian Belladonna
ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Indian Belladonna, Deadly Nightshade • Hindi: झरका Jharka, Shafoo • Kannada: ನಾಟಿ ಬೆಲ್ಡೊನ Naati beladonna
Botanical name: Atropa acuminata    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)

Indian Belladonna is a branched herb, up to 1.6 m tall. Stem and branches are fistular, young shoots minutely velvety. Leaves are 8-17 cm long, 4.5-8.0 cm wide, elliptic-lanceshaped to ovate-lanceshaped, long-pointed, wedge-shaped at base. Leaf-stalk is up to 2 cm long. Sepal cup is 9-15 mm long, up to 2 cm in fruit, cup-shaped velvety. Sepals are 6-10 mm long, ovate-acute, nearly equal, persistent. Flowers are 2-2.3 cm long, yellow, petals blunt. Stamens do not protrude out, anthers are about 3 mm long, oblong, filaments 10-11 mm long. Berry is spherical, 1 cm broad, black when ripe. Indian Belladonna is found in E. Iran, E. Afghanistan, eastwards to Kashmir, Mongolia, at altitudes of 1800-3040 m. Flowering: June-July.
Medicinal uses: All parts of the plant contain the alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine and bellodonnine, which are used as a sedative, antispasmodic, in convulsive disorders and as an antidote for poisoning. The black berries are very poisonous and cause delirium and dilation of the pupils.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Gulmarg, Kashmir.

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