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Common Name : Porcupine Flower     -       Scientific Name : Barleria prionitis (Acanthaceae)       -       Other Name : Katu Karandu (S)
Pukkulama
01/12/2014
Pukkulama
01/12/2014

This is a species, which is native to Sri Lanka and India. However other than in Asia the genus Baleria is found in Africa and America. It contains about 250 species of which about 70 are found in Africa. In Australia it is considered an invasive weed.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012).

This is a very common species, which is found in the dry lowlands of the country. It is found along roads and in most scrubland areas.

This is a species that is used to treat many ailments in Ayurveda medicine. The juice made from the leaves are given as a remedy for stomach disorders, urinary disorders and mixed with bee’s honey it is given to children with fever and catarrh. In India leaf juice is also applied to lacerated soles of feet during the rainy season. A paste made of the roots is applied over boils and glandular swellings.

The whole plant is made in to a paste and applied externally as an ointment for gout. It is said that the seed extract is said to increase sexual vigour. Leaves of this species are chewed and the sap swallowed to cure mouth ulcers. A paste made out of chopped leaves is applied to relieve pain during toothaches.

This is the host plant for one of the commonest butterflies that is found all over Wilpattu, known as the Chocolate Soldier.

This is a common species in Wilpattu but is often overlooked when not in bloom. I photographed the flowers at Pukkulam in January.