Herbs & Plants

Clerodendrum paniculatum

Botanical Name: Clerodendrum paniculatum
Family: Lamiaceae/ Verbenaceae (Verbena family)
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Clerodendrum
Species: C. paniculatum

Caprifolium paniculatum
Cleianthus coccineus
Clerodendrum pyramidale
Clerodendrum diversifolium
Clerodendrum splendidum
Volkameria angulata
Volkameria diversifolia

Common Names: Pagoda flower, Krishna Kireedam (in Tamil)

Habitat : Pagoda flower or Clerodendrum paniculatum is native to tropical Asia and Papuasia (southern China including Taiwan, Indochina, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Borneo, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Philippines, Bismarck Archipelago). It is reportedly naturalized in India, Fiji, French Polynesia, and Central America.

Pagoda flower is an erect, open semiwoody shrub with large evergreen leaves and huge showy clusters of orange-red or scarlet flowers held above the foliage. The plant sometimes has many stems and gets 3-5 ft tall, spreading 2-3 ft across. Oppositely arranged ovate leaves have heart shaped bases; lower leaves are lobed and upper leaves entire. The handsome leaves can be as large as 12 in across. The flowers small, funnel shaped with long tubes. Although the individual flowers are only about 0.5 in long, they are arranged in massive panicles up to 1 ft or more in height, at the end of branches. The flowers within the pyramid shaped cluster are tiered, like a Japanese pagoda. Pagoda flower is native to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and much of southeastern Asia. It was probably introduces in India, and escaped cultivation. It is widely cultivated in tropical gardens throughout the world.

The large, glossy, lobed leaves and fairly robust stems with an almost square cross-sectional form are also prominent characteristics of C. paniculatum . Their ability to produce root suckers allows pagoda flowers to spread vegetatively and they can form apparently clonal stands of several plants together.

Fruits and seeds
Clerodendrum paniculatum frequently has a high percentage of aborted pollen grains and fruit does not appear to set among the populations observed in Java, New Guinea and Sri Lanka. Kew scientist Dr James Wearn has only seen two dried specimens in fruit (collected from Peninsular Malaysia) which, when dissected, had seeds (at least developing) within their fruits. No germination tests have been carried out at Kew to date.


The pagoda flower was taken into cultivation throughout Indomalesia many centuries ago, as it is easy to grow in warm, humid climates and produces large inflorescences nearly all year round. Flowers of cultivated plants are usually sterile and so do not produce fruits. During the eighteenth century, novel ornamental plants from ‘the other side of the world’ were in high demand in Europe and this species was one of the earliest to reach the foremost nurseries of the time, being introduced to Britain from Java in 1809 as a greenhouse plant. It is easily propagated vegetatively and strikes readily from cuttings.

The pagoda flower has a number of medicinal uses in Asia. In Malaysia an infusion is drunk as a purgative and is applied externally to distended stomachs. Various magical attributes have been recorded; indeed the Malay vernacular name pangil-pangil refers directly to the ‘summoning’ of spirits. Clerodendrum paniculatum is also supposed to confer protection from harm and is used as an elephant-medicine! Substances produced by several Clerodendrum species are undergoing more rigorous scientific trials in order to evaluate their medicinal potential. To date, results are promising, and antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties have been verified, as well as antiviral activity.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Vetiveria zizanioides

Botanical Name: Vetiveria zizanioides /Chrysopogon zizanioides
Family: Poaceae or Gramineae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides

Agrostis verticillata Lam. nom. illeg.
Anatherum muricatum (Retz.) P.Beauv.
Anatherum zizanioides (L.) Hitchc. & Chase
Andropogon aromaticus Roxb. ex Schult. nom. inval.
Andropogon muricatum Retz. [Spelling variant]

Common Names: Vetiver, Vetiveria, Vetivergrass, Khas-khas, Benaba ,Sirom, Siromu, Bina-Khar.

Habitat: Vetiveria zizanioides is native to India. It grows on Open dry places at elevations up to 1000 metres in Nepal. Though it originates in India, C. zizanioides is widely cultivated in tropical regions. The major vetiver producers include Haiti, India, Indonesia, and Réunion. Almost all vetiver grown worldwide is vegetatively propagated, bioengineering has shown them as essentially the same nonfertile cultigen by DNA profiling. In the United States the cultivar is named ‘Sunshine,’ after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana

Vetiver grows to 150 centimetres (5 ft) high and form clumps as wide. Under favorable conditions, the erect culms can reach 3m in height. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2 metres (7 ft) to 4 metres (13 ft) in depth.

The vetiver bunch grass has a gregarious habit and grows in tufts. Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost and wildfire resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressure. The leaves can become up to 300 centimetres (10 ft) long and 8 millimetres (0.3 in) wide. The panicles are 15 centimetres (6 in) to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and have whorled, 25 millimetres (1 in) to 50 millimetres (2 in) long branches. The spikelets are in pairs, and there are three stamens.

The plant stems are erect and stiff. They can survive deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months.

The root system of vetiver is finely structured and very strong. It can grow 3 metres (10 ft) to 4 metres (13 ft) deep within the first year. Vetiver has neither stolons nor rhizomes. Because of all these characteristics, the vetiver plant is highly drought-tolerant and can help to protect soil against sheet erosion. In case of sediment deposition, new roots can grow out of buried nodes.


The most commonly used commercial genotypes of vetiver are sterile (do not produce fertile seeds), and because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, these genotypes are noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge. However, care must be taken, because fertile genotypes of vetiver have become invasive.

Medicinal Uses:
Freshly prepared aqueous decoction of the root (ca.15 ml) is given twice a day before lunch and dinner to cure dyspepsia by the Lodhas. Fresh roots (ca. 10 gm) made into paste, and that is applied on the fore-head to cure head-ache by the Mundas. Root ash with
a glass of lukewarm water is given to cure acidity by the Mundas. Fresh stem collected from the young plants which are yet to bloom is kept in a glass of water for overnight. This aqueous decoction is given (ca. 20 ml) each time in regular intervals of 3 hours to cure
the urinary problems by the Oraons. Fresh root (ca. 25 gm) made into paste with seeds of black pepper (Piper nigrum) (ca. l0 gm) is given with a glass of water or milk to retain vitality and overcome the weakness due to excessive sweating by the Polias. Root paste (ca. l0 gm) with honey is given to check vomiting of children by the Mundas. Fresh root decoction is used as a mouth freshener by the Polias. Root paste is given to the children at bed time to stop the habit of passing urine in bed at night by the Polias.

Other Uses:
Vetiver grass is grown for many purposes. The plant helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favourable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics, aromatherapy, herbal skincare and ayurvedic soap. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts, ropes and more.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Tiger Grass

Botanical Name: Thysanolaena maxima/Thysanolaena latifolia
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Thysanolaeneae
Genus: Thysanolaena
Species: T. latifolia

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Thysano-laena Nees
Myriachaeta Moritzi
Thysanolaena acarifera
Thysanolaena agrostis
Thysanolaena assamensis

Common Names: Tiger grass, Nepalese broom grass, Broom grass, Broom stick, in Nepali Amliso and jharu in Assamese

Habitat : Tiger grass is native to China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Taiwan, Yunnan) Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is also naturalized in Mauritius, Seychelles, Gambia, Tanzania, Hawaii, California, the West Indies and Brazil.

It is found growing along steep hills, sandy banks of rivers and damp steep banks along ravines. It is widely distributed throughout Nepal but only up to an altitude of 2000 metres. The grass can be grown on severely degraded and marginal lands. Broom grass tends to grow in tussocks, with 4-5 tussocks in a 100-metre radius and is harvested during the winter seasons between January and March.

Tiger grass is a tightly clumping perennial grass with long slender canes up to 10mm in diameter, which are topped with drooping, lance shaped green leaves. The foliage only grows out of the top of the canes therefore the plant develops an attractive mushroom like shape. It has pinky to purple flowers which look rather like corn tassels.

Looking very much like bamboo but without its invasive tendencies, Tiger Grass is a neat and tidy addition for sub tropical gardens and will withstand temperatures down to -2 degrees centigrade so will grow well throughout much of Australia – though growth will be restrained in cooler climates and some leaf drop may occur in winter.

It does however like regular access to moisture though so drought prone areas are not recommended.

It will make a good feature plant or at the back of deep borders and its dense and lush nature makes it ideal as a fast growing screen.

One of its best features is that it is not fussy whether it gets full sun or shade – though a bit of both is perfect.

Soil: Well drained but humus rich soils are ideal, though it will withstand many soil types as long as they are not waterlogged or too dry.

If the plant is to be kept in pots or large tubs, ensure they get enough water in hotter months.


Uses: Fresh flower (ca. 5 gm) made into paste with ‘Pachai’ (rice beer, ca. 10 ml), long pepper (Piper longum) seeds (ca. 2 gm), and
honey 10-20 drops. The paste so obtained is given to women at early morning in empty stomach for 3-successive days just after the
completion of one menstrual cycle as oral contraceptive by the Mundas. Root decoction with common salt is used as mouth freshener
and to cure mouth sores by the Lodhas. Twigs with 3-leaves are kept on the main entrance of the house by the Lepchas to keep the evil
spirits away from their houses. Freshly prepared aqueous decoction of the grains is used as a mouth wash to expel the tooth worms by
the Santals.

It is also usede as an ornamental plant for the house.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Sporobolus diander

Botanical Name: Sporobolus diander
Family: Poaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Genus: Sporobolus
Species: Sporobolus diander (Retz.) Beauv

Common name(s): Tussock dropseed, Khui-ghash

Habitat :Sporobolus diander grows in the tropical region of the world.But it does not grow in Australia

Plants annual or perennial; usually cespitose, sometimes rhizomatous, rarely stoloniferous. Culms 10-250 cm, usually erect, rarely prostrate, glabrous. Sheaths open, usually glabrous, often ciliate at the apices; ligules of hairs; blades flat, folded, involute, sometimes terete. Inflorescences terminal, open or contracted panicles, sometimes partially included in the uppermost sheath. Spikelets rounded to laterally compressed, with 1(-3) floret(s) per spikelet; disarticulation above the glumes. Glumes 0-1-veined; calluses poorly developed, usually glabrous; lemmas membranous or chartaceous, 1(3)-veined, unawned; paleas glabrous, 2-veined, often splitting between the veins at maturity; anthers (2)3. Fruits utricles or achenes, ellipsoid, obovoid, fusiform, or quadrangular, pericarp free from the seed, becoming mucilaginous when moist in most species, remaining dry and partially adherent to the seed in S. heterolepis and S. clandestinus. Cleistogamous spikelets occasionally present in the lower leaf sheaths. x = 9. Name from the Greek sporos, seed, and bolos, a throw, referring to the free seeds, which are sometimes forcibly ejected when the mucilaginous pericarp dries. It is in flower during summer


Uses: Stem is chopped into small pieces and is given to the cattle as a fodder to promote lactation by the Santals. Most of the tribal
communities of the state use the plant for broom making.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Setaria verticillata

Botanical Name: Setaria verticillata
Family: Poaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Genus: Setaria
Species: S. verticillata

Alopecurus paniceus
Chaetochloa ambigua
Chaetochloa brevispica
Chaetochloa verticillata
Chamaeraphis verticillata
Cynosurus paniceus
Ixophorus verticillatus
Panicum acuminatissimum

Common Names: Hooked bristlegrass, Rough bristle-grass and Bristly foxtail.
English: Bristly foxtail; German: Quirlige Borstenhirse; French: Sétaire verticillée; Spanish: Amor de hortelano

Habitat: Setaria verticillata is native to Europe, but it is known on most continents as an introduced species and often a noxious weed. It is a hardy bunchgrass which grows in many types of urban, cultivated, and disturbed habitat. It is a weed of many types of agricultural crops, growing in vineyards and fields.

This grass species is ruderal in disturbed areas, such as cultivated fields, cattle kraals and along paths; often in damp soil, shady places. It is a common and persistent weed in gardens and in cultivated lands that can spread uncontrollably.

Setaria verticillata is a loosely tufted annual grass, reproducing solely by seed with decumbent or erect stems growing up to a meter long. The leaf blades are up to 25 centimeters long and have a long sheath around the stem. The inflorescence is a dense panicle up to 15 centimeters long which tapers at both ends. It contains many small spikelets and bristles. The bristles have tiny backwards-pointing barbs that help them hook onto clothing or animal fur, facilitating their dispersal.


Medicinal Uses:
Root paste is applied on the septic wounds of the cattle for early cure by the Santals. The mat prepared from the
inflorescence portion (without grains) are used as flooring mat in the granary. It is said that this carpet functioned as a rodent repellent
by the Santals, Lodhas and Mundas

Edible Uses: Seeds of the grass are used to make beer in South Africa and porridge in Namibia. They have been used as a famine food in India.

Other Uses: Setaria verticillata is palatable, and is therefore, used as pasture, hay and forage. In East Africa the inflorescences are used to keep rats from harvested grains. It is also used for weaving hats and toys. This grass species can be a problem as inflorescences adhere to animals such as sheep, causing much suffering and wool damage.

Known Hazards: Setaria verticillata is a persistent weed that can spread uncontrollably and regarded as a noxious weed in parts of Australia.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.