Monsoon 2011 - Making a magical flora discovery in rainy Coorg

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raghu ananth

Sep 17, 2011, 4:44:56 PM9/17/11
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Monsoon 2011 - Making a magical flora discovery in rainy Coorg
Rainy season is the best time to visit Coorg, blanketing the place as it does in shades of green, be it lush forests, mountain tops and every other spot. Bhagmandala, the place where the three rivers, the Kaveri Kannike and Sujyothi merge is no exception and one fine day at the height of the monsoon season, we walked the woody paths in Bhagmandala. The drizzle had set in by afternoon, continuing into the evening when suddenly it took on the shape of a downpour. We retreated to the shelter of the nearby trees and what do we find here but that hidden in the dark and dense vegetation were these spectacular young red flowers. We had hit a jackpot! ( 1. Tolypanthus lagenifer - [Indian Tolypanthus] from the Family Loranthaceae, 2.  Cup and Saucer plant [Breynia retusa] -already posted, 3. Unidentified red flower (to be posted)) 
 growing in a row vertically and on the woody stem (which seemed painted) of a shrub.  The bright red leaves here and there, the bell shape and tubular structures, the stamens and the anthers of the flower were indeed a feast for our eyes.
Cure for the seven-day itch!
Along came a group of around six buffalos waddling their way home in the rain, and soon I noticed that the hooves of each buffalo was bleeding red.  Looked like leech bites. Earlier in the day during an uphill walk along the narrow forest path, I had noticed a fat leech on my leg blood sucking on an already bleeding wound for an easy meal. Probably the poor buffalos faced the same multiple bites on the same wound. Cattle over here, it is believed are able to  remove/heal wounds by licking it with their tongues. But they are helpless when leeches take guard between their hooves. Dogs are known to remove leaches by killing them with their teeth. 
By then, the rains had washed away the dettol on our legs – which served as protection from leeches and we remembered to smear it again before we moved on.  Every time we crossed the numerous river streams and nullahs, the power of the dettol seemed to diminish and the leeches would again climb up our legs forcing us to reapply dettol. On that particular day, my mate and I had almost finished half a bottle of dettol.
I noticed leeches trying to climb up our legs and moving away after smelling dettol - a very effective remedy! Seven to eight leech bites that day were enough to prolong bleeding (Thanks to anti-clotting enzyme –Hirudin) for the rest of the day and itching sensation for next four to seven days.
9There appears to be two kinds of leech here – the smaller one after blotting becomes 1cm in length and the larger one  upto 3-4cms.)

I have seen people using varied solutions to prevent/heel leech bites in different areas –
We were given Shikakai solution,  Uppage- Gamboge tree fruit paste ( Garcinia gummi-gutta) and Quick lime  at Gamayana gudda hill, Uttara Kannada by the Siddi tribals (African aborigins). In Kemmanagundi, Chikmagalur dist,  people suggest tobacco leaves and match stick flame. At Muthodi the forest guards there use certain herbs growing along the forest path, Salt and quick lime,  We were given Paper in Unchalli forest to stop bleeding. Coffee powder in Kukke, Mud paste from the same habitat in Bhagamandala, Coorg…. In Arunachal we used leech guard, Gum boot in Uttara Kannada & Dettol in Coorg.

When it comes to protecting yourselves from the leeches, you can take your pick!


Tolypanthus lagenifer - [Indian Tolypanthus]
Bhagamandala, Coorg, Western ghats
Monsoon, 27th Jul 2011

DSC_6331 YoungredFlowers.jpg
DSC_6328 Plant Tolypanthus lagenifer - Indian Tolypanthus.jpg
DSC_6336 Stem.jpg
DSC_6333 Flower.jpg
DSC_6335 FlowerCloseup.jpg
DSC_6339 Leaf SideView.jpg
DSC_6337 Leaf CloseUp.jpg
DSC_6338 FrontView.jpg
DSC_6352- BuffaloHoovesBleeding.jpg
DSC_6357 BuffaloHoovesBleeding-LeechBite.jpg

Giby Kuriakose

Sep 18, 2011, 3:14:31 AM9/18/11
to raghu ananth, efloraofindia
Dear Raghu ji,

DSC_6339, DSC_6337 and DSC_6338 are not of Tolypanthus lagenifer. Tolypanthus lagenifer is a parasitic plant that grows on other plants. 

Here, I assume that you got Tolypanthus lagenifer from the plant seen in the aforementioned pictures. 

This would be a species of Litsea of Lauraceae family. 


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Madhuri Pejaver

Sep 18, 2011, 4:59:58 AM9/18/11
to efloraofindia, raghu ananth
Great endevour Raghu sir. You have taken us for the tour through thicket of the jungle. Flowers too are lovely. Without reading the story when first i saw those whoves i felt two photos have come by mistake. Then I thought it might be a quize.
But when i read the story i realised what it is!
A nice product you have told agaist leeches. Should keep in the mind.
Thanks for detoll too

--- On Sun, 18/9/11, raghu ananth <> wrote:
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