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Pluchea indica

Pluchea indica

Family

Compositae

Synonyms

Pluchea foliosa DC.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Beluntas, beluntas paya.
English Indian (Marsh) fleabane, Indian pluchea
Indonesia Beluntas (Indonesian), luntas (Javanese), baruntas (Sundanese).
Papua New Guinea A'apu ('Ere 'Ere, Central province).
Philippines Kkalapini (Tagalog), banig-banig (Sulu).
Cambodia Pros anlok.
Laos Nat luat.
Thailand Khlu (Central), nuat ngua, naat wua (North-eastern).
Vietnam C[us]c t[aaf]n, l[as] l[uws]c.

Geographical Distributions

P. indica is found from India to southern China, through Indo-China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, to Australia (including Christmas Island) and the Pacific Islands (including Hawaii).

Description

It is an evergreen, slender, erect, much-branched shrub that can reach 1-3 m tall. The branches are cylindrical, ribbed and woody. They are dark brown but green towards the tip, hairless but the young shoots have soft hair.

Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to reverse egg-shaped, 2.5-8 cm x 1-5 cm. Leaf base is attenuate while its apex is acute or mucronate. Its margin is serrate, obscurely glandular on both surfaces. The leaf has short stalk or nearly sessile and no stipules. It is aromatic when crushed. Inflorescence consists of many heads in either a hemispherical terminal or arising from the axils corymb or panicle, more or less dense, 2.5-12.5 cm wide. Its peduncles are short, with rings of bracts that are 6-7-seriate. The outer bracts are ovate and hairy, whereas the inner ones are lance-shaped, shiny, ciliate at the apex. They fall off together with the ripe small dry indehiscent one-seeded fruit. The heads are narrowly cylindrical size 7 mm across.

Flowers are all tubular, the marginal female flowers consist of 5-5 mm long petal, 5-6-fid. There are 2-6 central flowers, bisexual but functionally staminate, petal is slender, 4-6 mm long, lilac or pale violet. It has 5 anthers. The ovary is inferior and style arms long and exserted.

The one-seeded fruit is a cylindrical dry indehiscent 1 mm long and hairless. It is brown with about 5 ribs. The small dry indehiscent one-seeded central flowers are rudimentary; with spreading white tufts of hairs, 3-4 mm long.

The seedling is with epigeal germination.

Ecology / Cultivation

P. indica occurs especially along the sea shore and tidal streams and swamps, on clayish or hard and stony soils, occasionally near salt springs in the interior, in sunny or slightly shaded localities. It is cultivated as a hedge in the lower regions, sometimes up to 1000 m altitude, on fertile soils.

Line Drawing / Photograph

BOT00085

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References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.