S. NAZIMUDDIN AND M. QAISER
Ophioxylon serpentinum Linn.
A small shrub 50-60 cm high, branches simple and glabrous. Leaves whorled, usually 3, ovate-lanceolate, elliptic-lanceolate, 7-16 x 2.5-5 cm, acute or acuminate, entire, dark green above and pale green beneath, membranous, with 8-12 pairs of lateral nerves, petiole 5-15 mm long, with glands in the leaf axils. Inflorescence of terminal or axillary, many-flowered much branched cymes, peduncle 2.5-10 cm long, pedicel c. 5 mm long, red, bract minute, acute, triangular, bright red. Flowers pink, c. 1 cm across. Calyx c. 2.5 mm long, ovate or lanceolate, acute, equalling the tube. Corolla tube 8-12 mm long, inflated in the middle, throat hairy, lobes spreading, 4 mm long, overlapping to the left in bud, stamens inserted in the middle of the corolla. Disc conspicuous, cupshaped, style filiform, stigma capitate. Fruit c. 8 mm in diameter, 2 separate or in two lobes, red, ovoid, pointed, turning shining black when fully mature.
Fl. Per.: July-September.
Type: Described from Ceylon. (Zeylona) Herbarium Hermann (BM).
Distribution: Tropical Himalayas to Sikkim, Assam, Deccan Penninsula, South East Punjab. Cultivated in Karachi.
A concotion of the root is hypnotic, sedative and reduces blood pressure; it is also employed in labours to increase uterine contraction.