Clusters of soft green flowers of Paper Flower Climber, Calycopteris floribunda photographed this morning in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai. As the hot months go by these pale green flowers change colour and give a papery effect. Some areas of the Park are full of these gregarious climber.
Calycopteris floribunda, commonly known as Ukshi, is a large climbing shrub which is 5-10 m long, with vines that are about 5–10 cm in diameter, the stem and leaves are said to have medicinal properties. Ukshi is found extensively in the low-lying tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats. These are also found in "Kavus" or the Sacred Groves of Kerala.
It bears grey bark and tenuous branches with thick fluff on the surface. The keratinous leaves, ovoid or oval, are 5–12 cm long. New branches are hairy and rust coloured. The flowers occur in dense clusters are the end of branches. The bracts of the small flowers are ovoid or oval, with thick fluffs on the surface. Petals are absent and the 10 stamens are arranged in 2 cycles.
The fruit inception bears 1 ventricle and 3 pendulous ovules inside. The fluffy sham-winged fruit, which is about 8 mm long, has 5 edges and 5 persistent calyxes which enlarges into the fluffy wing 10–14 mm in length. The sepals are prominent, hairy and green.
Ukshi is revered as a life-saver by the forest dwellers who regularly depend on this vine during summer when streams dry up. Sections of the vine store water, which people often use to quench their thirst.
The leaves are bitter, astringent, laxative, anthelmintic, depurative, diaphoretic and febrifuge. They are useful in intestinal worms, colic, leprosy, malarial fever, dysentery, ulcers and vomiting. The fruits are useful in jaundice, ulcers, pruritus and skin diseases.
For my Birds, Butterflies, Trees, Lanscape pictures etc., visit http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/J.M.Garg
For learning about our trees & plants, please visit/ join Google e-group (Indiantreepix) http://groups.google.co.in/group/indiantreepix?hl=en
My good friend from Kunnur, Kerala has this to say:-
“The flower is called 'Pullani' in our area; it blooms in March-April. The flowers are used in 'Pooram' festival (this is different from the famous Thrissur Pooram) of north Kerala in which young girls worship Kamadeva.