Smooth Uncaria
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Smooth Uncaria
P Native Photo: Kh. Shamungou
Common name: Smooth Uncaria, Smooth Gambier • Manipuri: ꯅꯤꯉꯣꯜ ꯈꯣꯢꯗꯨꯝꯂꯩ Ningol Khoidumlei • Mizo: Ralsamkuai zikvar
Botanical name: Uncaria laevigata    Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee family)
Synonyms: Uncaria dasycarpa, Nauclea laevigata, Uruparia laevigata

Smooth Uncaria is a large climber with elliptic leaves and prominent hooked spines. Flowers are borne in showy round balls in leaf-axils and in branch-end clusters. Stalks carrying the balls are 2.5-6 cm, flowering heads 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter, 8-10 mm in diameter across sepals. Bracteoles are linear or nearly spoon-shaped, 2-3 mm. Flowers are stalkless, flat-faced, hairless outside, with a narrow tube 0.7-1 cm long, ending in tiny oblong petals, about 2 mm. Sepal-cup is 1-1.5 mm. Young stems are slender, four-edged, hairless. Leaf-stalks are 7-11 mm, hairless; leaf blade drying thinly leathery, elliptic, lanceshaped, or elliptic-oblong, 8.5-12 x 3-6 cm, hairless on both surfaces base rounded to wedge-shaped, tip pointed or tapering; secondary veins 4-7 pairs. Fruiting heads are 2.5-3.0 cm in diameter. Fruit stalkless, spindle-shaped, 6-8 mm, bristly to bristly. Smooth Uncaria is found in forests, at altitudes of 600-1300 m, from NE India to China and SE Asia. Flowering: May-November.
Medicinal uses: Smooth Uncaria is a commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diseases of the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, like hypertension, light-headedness, numbness and convulsions.

Identification credit: Nidhan Singh, Tabish Photographed in Manipur.

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