A very interesting plant, I was drawn to it for the photography challenges it provided, my first Ulat Kambal was growing among a group of very large, very unwieldy Aloes with their sharp leaf ends… AND the process of fertilized ovary growing to face up towards the sky is very very intriguing to say the least…. Process involves part of the twig growing larger longer cells so that pedicle of the flower can do a 180 degrees twist… Almost similar to the insectivorous plants’ trap closing mechanism…..
Abroma augusta L.
Syn : Ambroma augustum;
Abroma augustum ( seems to be currently preferred name )
Abroma augusta L. ( name seems ingrained in Medicine, Ethnobotany books and Homeopathic remedies )
Bengali name: Ulat Kambal: ওলঢ কঁবল
No Sanskrit name, In Hindi called ULTA Kambal
No Gujarati name…. In the past not grown nor used in Gujarat… DON’T KNOW if currently its being grown all over India or not, what with rapid dissemination of Knowledge and gardening enthusiasts…
It is also not mentioned by Shushruta or Charak…. Bapalal Vaidya says it grows in the NE Himalayan range and nearby states, and in the past was rarely seen in the western jungles.
Taxon: Abroma augustum (L.) L. f.
tribe: Byttnerieae. Also placed in: Sterculiaceae ***
Date/Time- Several Years while studying Ethnobotany, 2007 till present, Pics are from during these years…
Location- Place, Altitude, GPS- Kolkata Horticulture Gardens Sea level or 2-3 feet below sea level
Habitat- Garden/ Urban/ Wild/ Type- Cultivated, Herb Garden….I have also seen it cultivated at Jute Research Institute Grounds, Ballygunj Circular Road, Kolkata, and in private Gardens of Individuals
Plant Habit- Tree/ Shrub/ Climber/ Herb- Shrub,
Height/Length- Most I have seen is about 10 feet tall.
Leaves Type/ Shape/ Size- Younger leaves Sagittate , older lower leaves are Palmate
Inflorescence Type/ Size- Individual flowers Hanging face down
Flowers Size/ Colour/ Calyx/ Bracts- 4 to 6 cms across brownish-violet mixed color
Fruits Type/ Shape/ Size Seeds- Seeds are less than a mm wide, black… covered with thick beige brown hairs.. but do not help seeds fly far…. It seems the tuft remain in the seed pods and seeds fall off or are eaten … Seeds pods/ fruits are 5 to 7 cms across and 1 – 3 cms deep.
Other Information like Fragrance, Pollinator, Uses etc.-
Do not know, but see figure 6 for some insect guests… WOULD LIKE TO KNOW the names of these beetles
if possible… they seemed very busy….
USES: Medicinal: Used for Dysmenorrhoea . and in postpartum complaints. Homeopathy: for Bronchitis, Diabetes, and Dysmeorrhoea. Main ingredient is ß-sitosterol .