Akondo, Crown flower, Calotropis gigantea

Akondo or Crown flower (Calotropis gigantea, family: Apocynaceae) is a perennial shrub with branches, attaining a height of 4 m. The stem is slightly wooody and much branched at the base. Bark is grey. Young shoots and lower part of leaves are tomentose. The plant is an iconic one in the rural areas in Bangladesh.

Branches and leaves emit milk when snapped. Leaves are whitish green, leathery, short-petioled or sessile, broadly ovate, 10-20 cm long and 6-12 cm wide. 

Common English name: Crown flower.

Flowers are light violet with white shade. Sepals 5, petals 5. Flowers are seen round the year but during the summer it blooms abundantly. Penduncle 6-10 cm long. Corolla glabrous, white or purple.

The fruit is ovoid,  curved, 6-8 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, tomentose, dehiscent, yields cotton.

It grows on fallow lands as weed all over Bangladesh. This tall shrub is also native to South and Southeast Asia. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds. 

It is used in cough, cold, asthma and insect poisoning. A fine fibre is obtained from its stem. Cotton from the seeds is used to make pillows. Fresh leaves are used in rheumatic pains. The extract of roots is used as a a tonic. Milky latex is used in leprosy. Roots are used to make toothbrush and to cure toothache.