Boerhavia diffusa* auct. mult., non Linn.
A perennial diffuse straggling, puberulous herb. Stem woody below, branches often reddish. Leaves opposite and unequal, ovate, oblong to subcordate, 1-5 x 0.3-3.8 cm, sinuate to repand, cuspidate or obtuse, puberulous, often whitish on undersurface. Bract and bracteoles 1.5-2 mm long, ovate, acuminate, puberulous, margin membranous. Flowers c. 3 mm long, in diffuse axillary panicles. Perianth campanulate, pinkish-mauve, as long as or longer than the lower half, deciduous. Stamens 2-3, exserted. Filaments slender, rosy, arising in the axil of a scale. Ovary less than 1 mm long, ovoid; style c. 1.5 mm long, stigma capitate. Anthocarp turbinate to broadly clavate, 3 mm long, 5 ribbed, glandular and papillose.
Fl. Per.: Sept.-Aug., but earlier in the south.
Type locality: E. India.
Distribution: S. Asia, India and Pakistan.
A common tropical herb, sometimes weedy, found in the plains and the foothills up to 2200 m. A very variable species in form and size. B. coccinea Miller (see R.R. Stewart, l.c.) is not found in Pakistan and is a native of America.
The anthocarp is typically turbinate to broadly clavate, but I have observed in a few specimens where the shape is subfusiform. As suggested by F.R. Fosberg, these may be immature fruits (Fig. 1, I). The species is considered as a fodder for sheep. The roots are said to be medicinal and used as a purgative, febrifuge and an anthelmintic. The juice extract from the plant is used as a diuretic. The leaves can be used as a pot herb.