Calotropis gigantea (L.) R. Br.

Sub-Family: Not available
English Name: Milkweed
Synonym: Asclepias gigantea L.
Common Name: Bowstring hemp
Flowering & Fruiting Period: Throughout the year
Distribution: Tropical Asia
Habitat: Wastelands
Uses: Flowers edible. All parts of plants considered to be medicinally effective if taken in small doses. Bark used for dermatitis and syphilis treatment is so effective for the latter that plant is known as 'vegetable mercury'. Leaves used as poultice. Flowers used to relieve asthma. Toxic milky sap also known to be used to induce abortions and for infanticide. Plant sap used for tanning and making yellow dye. Fine fibres can be extracted from stems. Flowers are long-lasting, and often used as cut flower in floral arrangements.
Key Characteristics: Shrubs, stem rounded. Leaves simple, opposite. Flowers pale purple or greenish- white; pedicels stout. Calyx lobes to 3 mm long. Corolla campanulate, tube short, lobes ovate to oblong, recurved. staminal corona of 5 vertical lobes, 1 cm long. Carpels free. Fruit saccate, to 6 x 3 cm, ovoid; seeds many.