Thorny Pisonia
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Thorny Pisonia
P Native Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Thorny Pisonia, Devil's Claws, Pullback • Kannada: ಸೂಳೆಬಳ್ಳಿ Suḷe balli, Ottu chedi • Malayalam: Karindhu, Kodimullaram • Tamil: Marukalli, Kodi kuttippadatthi, Selamaranjaan
Botanical name: Pisonia aculeata    Family: Nyctaginaceae (Bougainvillea family)
Synonyms: Pallavia aculeata, Pisonia loranthoides

Thorny Pisonia is a large, evergreen, armed, climbing shrub or small tree, with spines in leaf-axils, recurved, branchlets velvet-hairy. Leaves are opposite and alternate, up to 8 x 4 cm, ovate, blunt, base wedge-shaped, papery; leaf-stalk up to 2 cm. Flowers are borne in umbels in leaf-axils; flower-cluster-stalks up to 2 cm, velvet-hairy; bracteoles 1 mm, ovate, velvet-hairy. Flowers are 4 mm across, funnel shaped, 10-lobed, alternately long and short; stamens 4-5-8, filaments 5 mm; ovary 0.5 mm, seated on a disc, 1-celled, one ovuled. Thorny Pisonia is found throughout the tropical world, in Tropical America, Africa, Madagascar, to India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-China and Malesia.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are used, either fresh or in decoction, for treating skin problems such as scabies and ulcers. The roots are used to treat coughs. A decoction of both the bark and the leaves is used both internally and externally to deal with rheumatism and venereal diseases.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Amirthi Forest, Tamil Nadu.

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