Poison-Fruit Vine
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Poison-Fruit Vine
P Native Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Poison-Fruit Vine • Kannada: Balli kasaraka • Malayalam: വല്ലീ കന്ജിരാ Valli kanjira • Tamil: வல்லீ கந்ஜிரம் Valli kanjiram • Telugu: తీగ ముస్తీ Theega musti, పల్ల ముస్తి Pallamusti, తీగ విషముస్తి Theega Vishamusti
Botanical name: Strychnos wallichiana    Family: Loganiaceae (Logania family)
Synonyms: Strychnos cinnamomifolia, Strychnos lucida, Strychnos tubiflora

Poison-Fruit Vine is a woody climber up to 20 m long. Stems are grayish white, rugose; branchlets round, smooth, usually with 2-divided tendrils in leaf-axils. Leaf-stalks are 5-7 mm; leaves elliptic, 5-17 x 3-5 cm, basal veins 3. Flowers are borne inthyrses at branch-ends, 4-5 cm, carried on velvet-hairy flower-cluster-stalks. Flowers are yellowish to yellow-white, pinwheel-shaped. about 1.4 cm, tube about 1.1 cm, petals oblong, about 4 mm, tip slightly thickened. Stamens are inserted at flower mouth, pistil about 8 mm. Sepals are ovate, 1-1.3 mm. Berries are yellow to orange when ripe, spherical, 4-6 cm in diameter, pericarp to 2-3 mm thick; many-seeded. Poison-Fruit Vine is found in NE India, China, SE Asia and Western Ghats. Flowering: April-June.
Medicinal uses: Although toxic, the plant is taken internally as well as externally in traditional medicine. However, internal use needs to be very carefully monitored by skilled practitioners. The stem-bark and branch-bark are effective in treating rheumatism, ostealgia, paralytic cramp of the extremities, lumbago, sciatica, colic and diarrhoea. The bark is used internally as an aphrodisiac; it is also said to be very efficacious in the treatment of leprosy and is used as an antidote for rabies.

Identification credit: Vijayasankar Raman, I. Veera Kishore Photographed in Aralam WLS, Kerala & Seshachalam, Andhra Pradesh.

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