Indian Prickly Ash
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Indian Prickly Ash
D Native Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Indian Prickly Ash • Adi: Onger • Assamese: Bajarmani, Bajarmali • Kannada: ಜುಮ್ಮಿ Jummi, Jummina,ಅರಮಾದಲ, ಅರಮಾದಳ Aramaadala, ತುಂಬುರು Tumburu, Kadumenasu, ಗಾಮಟೆ Gaamate • Khasi: Dieng-soh-mirik, Dieng-soh-aruin, Dieng-nadkor • Malayalam: Kothumurikku, Mullilavu, Mullilam • Manipuri: ꯉꯥꯡ Ngang • Marathi: Chiphal, Chirphala, Kokli • Naga: Hechui-ching • Tamil: Iraccai, Iraccaimaram, Karuppuk kaliyana murunkai • Telugu: morapu, raccamanu, racha, rachamam • Mizo: Ching-it • Telugu: ಜುಮ್ಮಿ Jummi, ಅರಮಾದಲ Jummina, ಅರಮಾದಳ Aramaadala, ತುಂಬುರು Tumburu, Kadumenasu, ಗಾಮಟೆ Gaamate
Botanical name: Zanthoxylum rhetsa    Family: Rutaceae (Lemon family)
Synonyms: Fagara rhetsa

Indian Prickly Ash is a deciduous tree about 12 m tall. Trunk is armed with large corky conical prickles; bark brownish, corky, yellow. Young branchlets are round, warty, hairless, with conical prickles. Leaves are compound, imparipinnate, alternate, spirally arranged, clustered at twig ends; axis channeled, hairless; leaflet-stalk 0.3 cm long, channeled in cross section, hairless. Leaflets are 15-23, opposite, 6.5-11 x 3.5-4.5 cm, oblong, elliptic-oblong, tip falling off or tapering (tip up to 3 cm long), base asymmetric, margin crenulate with glands at sinuses, leathery, sparingly glandular punctuate; midrib channeled above; secondary nerves 6-12 pairs. Flowers are borne in panicles, at branch-ends or from uppermost leaf axils. Flowers are polygamous, greenish yellow; male and female flowers stalkless. Male flowers: sepals are 4, ovate-triangular, fringed along margin, green; petals 4, free, elliptic-oblong, white or creamy yellow, valvate; stamens 4, anthers oblong, yellow; disc lobulate; pistillodes solitary. Female flowers: sepals & petals as in male flowers; staminodes absent; disc pulvinate; ovary superior, 4-celled, ovules 2 in each cell; style eccentric; stigma flat. Seed-pods are spherical, apiculate; seed 1, spherical, smooth, bluish-black. Indian Prickly Ash is found in Indo-Malesia, in the Western Ghats in India. Flowering: March-November.
Medicinal uses: The fruit and stem bark are aromatic, stimulant, astringent, stomachic and digestive; prescribed in urinary diseases, dyspepsia, diarrhoea and with honey in rheumatism. Fruits are appetiser; useful in cholera, asthma, bronchitis, heart troubles, piles and toothache; relieves hiccup. The carpels yield an essential oil, which is given in cholera. The seed oil is antiseptic and disinfectant; applied on inflammatory dermatosis. The seed oil is used in dry eczema and dandruff of children in Bangladesh. The root barks have cholinergic, hypoglycaemic and spasmolytic activity.

Identification credit: Savinaya Malve, Anurag Sharma Photographed at Sagara, Karnataka.

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