Sweet Clock Vine
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Sweet Clock Vine
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Sweet Clock-Vine, White Lady • Hindi: चिमीन Chimine • Marathi: चिमीन Chimine • Malayalam: Noorvan-valli • Tamil: இ.த்ரபுஸ்பம் Indrapushpam, இந்த்ரபுஶ்பி Indrapushpi • Mizo: Zawnga-fian-parvar • Kannada: ಇನ್ದ್ರಪುಶ್ಪ Indrapushpa • Telugu: Indrathige, Indratige, Jimandaarathige, Palatheega
Botanical name: Thunbergia fragrans    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)

Commonly planted in gardens for its attractive white flowers, this slender, herbaceous vine, native to India and Sri Lanka, often establishes itself in thickets, in waste grounds and on roadsides. Thunbergia commemorates Karl P. Thunberg, an eminent Swedish traveller and botanist, who lived from 1745 to 1828; the genus was dedicated to him by the botanist Retz in 1776. Sweet Clock-Vine climbs to a length of 2 meters, or less, and is finely hairy. Its leaves are rather broad, long-pointed, often coarsely few-toothed, slender-stalked, and from 5 to 10 centimeters long. Flowers are white, 2 inches wide and scentless. There has been lot of confusion on why the species name is fragrans. Dr. Roxburgh, who gave the name to this flower, says in his book, Plants of the Coast of Coromandel:
"the plant possesses a peculiar and agreeable fragrance, and the beauty of its flowers, although not fragrant, entitle it to a place in the flower-garden"
So, the plant possesses a fragrance, but not the flowers.
Medicinal uses: The paste made from tender twigs of the indrapushapa is used to treat fever and is sometimes applied to cuts and wounds in Indian Siddha medicine. The leaves are used as a poultice in skin diseases, and their juice is applied to the head to relieve headaches.

Identification credit: K. Karthigeyan, Nandan kalbag Photographed in Delhi & Manipur.

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