Shorpogondha or Black snakeroot, Rauvolfia serpentina

Shorpogondha or Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentina, family: Apocynaceae) is a herbaceous shrub with milky juice. The perennial can grow up to 2 m. It is usually found in moist and shady places near the forests of the South and Southeast Asia. 

It is one of the most popular medicinal plants of Indian subcontinent. In Bangladesh, no herbal garden can be imagined without this plant.

Common names: Choto chador, Shorpadoni, Shorpokkhi & Black snakeroot (English).

Leaves are borne in whorls of 3, elliptic-lanceolate, 10-15 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, acuminate, glossy green upside, pale beneath. 

Flowers are terminal, white, reddish at the bottom, corolla tube long, slender, sepals 5, petals 5. Peduncle and sepals are reddish.

Fruit is a drupe, round, .5-1 cm in diameter, blackish when mature. Three different colors of fruits (green, red & black) are seen together in a plant. 

Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds and cuttings. Flowering and fruiting occur in the summer to late autumn.

Medicine prepared from its root is used in hypertension and hydrophobia. It is believed that madness can be cured by the power of roots in local areas. The root powder is used to cure snake bites. It is a threatened species in Bangladesh.


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