Stone Flower
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Stone Flower
ative Photo: Pankaj Kumar
Common name: Stone Flower • Hindi: चरेला Charela, पत्थरफॊड़ी Pattharphori • Sanskrit: शिला पुष्प Shila pushp, शांतपुष्पी Shantapushpi, पाषाणभेद Pasanbheda • Nepali: कुम Kum
Botanical name: Didymocarpus pedicellatus    Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)
Synonyms: Didymocarpus pedicellata

The name Stone Flower, and various local names, probably come from the plant's believed efficacy in curing kidney stones, or probably because it occurs on rocks. It is a usually stemless plant of damp rocks, with 2 large basal leaves with long stalks. Leaves are roundly ovate, rounded toothed. Many reddish purple flowers, 2.5 cm long, occur in clusters, at the end of erect flowering stems, which are about 20 cm tall. Ovate bracts are often fused below. Colored, rounded sepals form a funnel shaped tube. The flower tube is narrow cylindric with a flaring mouth consisting of 5 rounded petals. Capsule is linear, beaked. Occurs in the Himalayas, from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh, at altitudes of 500-2500 m. Flowering: July-September.
Medicinal uses: Stone Flower is a valuable, although a lesser known medicinal plant. Traditionally Stone Flower is used in the treatment of renal diseases particularly kidney stones. According to a hypothesis the plant is supposed to regulate calcium absorption in the body. The plant is known for its diuretic effect and in maintaining healthy urinary tract.

Identification credit: Pankaj Kumar Photographed near Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

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