Nilkanthi or Blue Snakeweed, Stachytarpheta urticifolia

Nilkanthi or Blue Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta urticifolia, family: Verbenaceae) is a semi-erect herb with branches. Stem is quadrangular and slightly woody. It can get a height of 2 m. In Bangladesh it is found in Chattogram and Chattogram Hill Tracts and greater Sylhet area. The beautiful flowering plant has not yet become popular in the country.

The propagation of the perennial plant is caused by seeds. Due to its dazzling purple or bluish flowers the plant is very popular throughout the tropical regions of the world. 

Serrated-leaves are shinny green, simple, opposite, elliptic, 4-7 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, sessile. Midrib and veins clearly visible.

Flowers are very attractive, scented, purple in color with white mark in the centre, sepals 5, petals 5, borne on very long terminal inflorescence, quite curved, looks like snake tail or rat tail. Flowering occurs in the rainy season. Fruit is a capsule, oblong, blackish.

It has some medicinal values. In Bangladesh different parts of the plant is used in stomachache, rheumatic fever, ulcers, diarrhea and dysentery.


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