Panicled Varshiki
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Panicled Varshiki
P Native Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Panicled Varshiki • Malayalam: Arambodal, Njarambodal • Sanskrit: Varshiki • Tamil: Mazhamulla
Botanical name: Sphenodesme involucrata var. paniculata    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Sphenodesme paniculata

Panicled Varshiki is a large climbing shrub or woody climber. Branches and branchlets nearly round or bluntly quadrangular, young parts rusty woolly or velvet-hairy, hairless when mature. Leaves are simple, opposite, elliptic or ovate, 7-18 × 4-8 cm, base rounded or blunt, margin entire or very faintly sawtoothed, tip blunt, leathery, papery, dark green, hairless above and velvet-hairy beneath, lateral veins 4-6 on either side of the midrib. Leaf-stalk is slender, hairless, channelled, about 0.8-1.5 cm long. Flowers are borne at branch-ends in panicles composed of 6-12 opposite dichotomously branched cymes, about 15-30 x 5-15 cm across, flower-cluster-stalk, slender, bluntly quadrangular, about 3-6 cm long, involucral bracts 6, leaflike or leaf-like, spoon-shaped, notched in fruit, membranous and veined. Flowers are bisexual, fragrant, many, cream colored stalkless in involucrate heads. Calyx is cup-shaped or nearly bell-shaped, 5 toothed, teeth ovate, pointed, densely star-shaped-woolly, about 6 mm long, flower funnel-shaped, 5-6 lobed, white, woolly, obovate to oblong, tip blunt, lower lip 3 lobed, lobes nearly equal, obovate, tip blunt, flower tube narrow, about 2 x 1.3 mm across, densely velvet-hairy at throat, hairless outside. Stamens are 5-6, included, filaments thread-like, hairless, anthers spherical. Fruit is carcerulus (A type that breaks up on maturity into one-seeded segments or nutlets), obovoid, hairless, enclosed by persistant sepals, 12 seeded. Panicled Varshiki is endemic to Western Ghats.
Medicinal uses: Roots are believed to be vermifuge, antibacterial in local medicine. It is used in the form of powder or decoction for stomach disorders, ear diseases, worms and burns.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Tamil Nadu.

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