Nalta Jute
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Nalta Jute
Photo: Gary Thingnam
Common name: Nalta Jute, Jew's Mallow, Tossa jute • Hindi: पाट Pat, पाट साग Pat-sag, Mithapat • Manipuri: ꯂꯤꯃꯣꯟ Limon • Marathi: मोटीछूंछ Motichhunchh, बनपात Banpat • Tamil: Punaku, Peratti • Telugu: Parinta • Bengali: ভুংগীপাট Bhungipat • Oriya: Kaunria • Sanskrit: Mahachanchu
Botanical name: Corchorus olitorius    Family: Tiliaceae (Falsa family)

Nalta Jute is a variety of jute grown for its young edible shoots, which are used in cooking. Native to India, nalta jute is cultivated in warm regions, including Egypt and the southern United States. It is an annual, much-branched herb 90-120 cm tall. Leaves are 6-10 cm long, 3.5-5 cm broad, ovate-lanceshaped, sawtoothed, the lower serratures on each side prolonged into a filament-like appendage over 6 mm long. The leaves are rounded at the base; leaf stalks 2-2.5 cm long. Flowers are pale yellow; bracts lance-like. Sepals are 3 mm long, oblong. Petals are 5 mm long, oblong spoon-shaped. Stamens are 10 to many, free, filaments short, anthers small, bilobed. Capsules are 3-6.5 cm long, thin, cylindric erect. While perhaps better known as a fiber crop, Nalta Jute is also a medicinal "vegetable", eaten from Tanganyika to Egypt. In India the leaves and tender shoots are eaten. The dried material is known as "nalita."
Medicinal uses: Ayurvedics use the leaves for ascites, pain, piles, and tumors. Elsewhere the leaves are used for cystitis, dysuria, fever, and gonorrhea. The cold infusion is said to restore the appetite and strength.

Identification credit: Maniruddin Dhabak Photographed in Manipur & Maharashtra.

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