Sesamum orientale Linn.
Erect annual, up to 65 cm tall, puberulous. Leaves very variable on the same plant, linear, narrowly oblong, ovate or lanceolate, entire, subentire, lobed or 3-partite, acute, 3-18 cm long, 0.5-4 cm broad, glabrous above, pubescent below, petiole 0.5-12 cm long. Flowers with strong unpleasant odour, bracteate; pedicel up to 5 mm long with 2 glands on either side at the base. Calyx 2-6 mm long, lobes linear to narrowly lanceolate, hairy, persistent. Petals 2-3 cm long, pubescent, obtuse. Stamens c. 1 cm long. Ovary 1-2 mm long, pilose, oblong. Fruit oblong, loculicidal, acuminate capsule, 1.5-2.5 cm long, 5-7 mm broad, slightly scabrid-¬pilose. Seeds black, brown or white, 2-3 mm long, 1-1.5 mm broad, wingless, almost smooth.
Lectotype: India, Linn. Herb. 802.3 (LINN)
Fl. Per. June-October.
Distribution: Original home uncertain, Asia or Tropical Africa, widely cultivated in Pakistan; India; Ceylon; Tropical Africa etc.
Cultivated for the oily seeds. Oil is used in confectionery, in the manufacture of “ghee”, soap and hair oil. Leaves, seeds and oil are claimed to be medicinally important.