Red Spiderling
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Red Spiderling
ative ovate Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Red hogweed, Tar Vine, Red Spiderling, Wineflower • Hindi: Punarnava, Satha • Kannada: ಅಡಕಪುಟ್ಟ Adakaputta, ಅಡಕಪುಟ್ಟನಗಿಡ Adakaputtana gida, ಕೊಮ್ಮೆ Komme, ಗೊನಜಾಲಿ Gonajaali, ಸನಾದಿಕಾ Sanaadikaa ಬಳವಡಿಕೆ Balavadike, ಬೆಳವಡಕ Belavadaka, ಶವಾಟ Shavaata, ಶಿವಾಟ Shivaata, ಶಿವಾಟಿಕೆ Shivaatike, ನಡುಮುರುಕನಬಳ್ಳಿ Nadumurukana balli • Nepali: पुनर्नवा Punarnavaa, पुनर्वा Punarvaa, लाल पुनर्नवा Laal Punarnavaa, सानो पाते Saano Paate, लाल गज पुर्नी Laal Gaj Purnee, औले साग Aule Saag • Sanskrit: पुनर्नवा Punarnavaa
Botanical name: Boerhavia diffusa      Family: Nyctaginaceae (Bougainvillea family)
Synonyms: Boerhavia paniculata, Boerhavia acutifolia

Red Spiderling is a prostrate herb with very diffuse inflorescences. It is a weed found throughout India. Leaves are unequal, ovate, blunt, wavy along margins, flat to omewhat eart-shaped at base, woolly; leaf-stalk to 1 cm long. Inflorescences occur at the end of branches, are forked about 3-6 times, occasionally with sticky internodal bands. Branches are divergent, terminating in compact subumbellate or capitate, 2-5-flowered clusters. Flowers have stalk shorter than 0.5 mm. Bract at base of the flower tube quickly deciduous, lancelike, 0.8-1 mm. Flowers are purplish red to reddish pink or nearly white, bell-shaped beyond the constriction, 1-1.5 mm. Stamens 2-3, are inside the flower or barely protruding out. Tender young leaves and shoots are cooked and used as a vegetable. Red Spiderling is a plant found throughout India.
Medicinal uses: Popular in Ayurveda, this herb is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The roots of Boerhavia diffusa, commonly known as 'Punarnava', are used by a large number of tribes in India for the treatment of various hepatic disorders and for internal inflammation. Anodectal data has also reported effectiveness of Boerhavia diffusa incases of oedema and ascites resulting from early cirrhosis of the liver and chronic peritonitis.

Identification credit: Navendu Pagé Photographed in Delhi.

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