Open main menu

Page:Indian Medicinal Plants (Text Part 1).djvu/152

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
72
INDIAN MEDICINAL PLANTS.

about 15, closely crowded with seeds. Seeds ovoid-globular, ribbed with vertical lines of little tubercles, and very minutely transversely striate; aril white, transparent. Seeds edible.

The flowers are sweet-scented. They sink under* water to mature and ripen.

Uses:—The rootstock of this plant, says my old friend, Pandit Jaya Krishna Indraji, at page 16 of his Vanaspati-Varnana (Gujrati), is used on fast days by Hindus as a nourishing article of food, after boiling and mixing it with milk and sugar. The powdered rootstock is also given in dyspepsia, diarrhoea and piles. A decoction of flowers is also given in palpitation of heart, it is not stated in what quantity or of what strength.

55. N. stellatta, Willd. h. f. br. i,, i. 114.

Sanskrit:—Nilotpal, Indiwar.

Vern.:—(Sinhalese) Monch; (Porebunder) Tvamal,Kala Kamal, Kumdu; (Guj.) Nilkamal; (Mar.) Poyani, Krishna-Kamal. (Hindi) Nil-padma, Lilophal, Nil-kamal.

Habitat:—Common throughout the warmer parts of India and Ceylon, in shallow streams, tanks and ponds. Open all day, says Trimen. But some of the pale blue and drab-coloured varieties in Ratnagiri and Thana (Konkan) open at sunset and close at sunrise. They are found in tropical and Northern Africa. Trimen notes a violet-coloured variety from Ceylon, also pinkish-purple.

Rootstock ovoid, short, erect; leaves on long, rather slender, submerged petioles; blade floating; about 5-8 in. diam., sagittate-rotund, very obtuse, with a usually narrow sinus, 2-3 in. deep at base, entire or coarsely sinuate, glabrous on both sides. Flowers solitary on long peduncles, 3-6 in. diam., sepals narrowly oblong -lanceolate, acute or subacute. Petals linear-lanceolate, acute or subobtuse. Stamens 40-50, with a tongue-shaped appendage beyond the anthers. Stigmatic rays ' acute, 10-30, curved upwards at the ends, without appendages, in short horns. Fruit globular. Seeds longitudinally striate. Flowers through-out the year.

Uses:—Its uses are those of N. Lotus. Roots and seeds edible, especially in famines.