Asam lota or Bitter vine (Mikania micrantha, family: Asteraceae) is a perennial extensive climber. It can be easily found in fallow lands, crop fields and roadside areas in Bangladesh. It is an invasive species. Usually with the help of a tree it climbed up. In case of small tree it does serious damage.
Other names: Bharoti-lota, Rabon lota, Tara-lota.
Leaves are opposite, green, ovate to cordate, edge sometimes uneven, sometimes wavy, petiole long, sometimes dark green, sometimes pale. The size of the vine or its leaves differ on the basis of soil fertility.
Branched inflorescence comes out from leaf axil. Flower is white or pale white. Each branch contains three to four white flowers. Numerous branches occurs together. Therefore, the flower cluster seems quite large.
It spreads quickly in rainy season. So it causes serious damage to crops then. Especially it does a great damage to Sal forest and Tea plantation. Although it is quite effective to prevent soil erosion.
Fruit is pentagonal, called achene. Its propagation is caused by seeds. In such a way the smart creeper stays with green leaves that it cannot easily be seen. The leaves and young branches are the favourite meal of cattle.
Its leaves and branch contain protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A, B and C. Leaves are used in pain, allergy and itching. People of Africa eat its leaves as vegetables.
Guloncho or Heart-leaved moonseed ( Tinospora cordifolia , family: Menispermaceae) is a deciduous creeper with hard and long stem, climbing other trees or fences. Bark on the stem is as thin as paper. Aerial roots come out of the stem when the plant grows older. The plant is found everywhere in Bangladesh except southern part. It is also native to South and Southeast Asia. Common names: Heart-leaved moonseed, Guduchi, Giloy, Guloncho, Guroncho, Padma guloncho. Leaves are simple, green, alternate, cordate, 6-15 cm long and 5-13 cm wide. Inflorescence, growing from the axil of leaflet branches, bears yellow flowers. Male and female flowers bloom separately. Sepals 6, arranged in two rows, petal 6, pistils 3. Fruit is a drupe, brilliant red when ripe. This attractive fruit is inedible to human. What an extensive climber! Tinospora cordifolia is used in weakness, tastelessness, rheumatis
Makal or Mahakal ( Trichosanthes tricuspidata , family: Cucurbitaceae) is a woody climber with tendril and branches, attaining a height of 10-12 m. The multiangular-branched plant climbs up very far by holding any tree in the forest. It is found in the hilly areas as well as plain forests and village thickets in Bangladesh. It is also found in Indian subcontinent, Australia and some countries of South and Southeast Asia. According to ancient Sanskrit scriptures the other names of the plant are Bishala, Mohendro-baruni. In the Himalayas it has been seen at an altitude of 5000 feet. There are many refferences to the fruit in Bangla and Sanskrit literature. Someone is very nice to look at but he/she is useless--writers usually jokingly give examples of this fruit. Its roots and attractive fruits are packed with medicinal properties. The size and shape of leaves may vary. These are multilobed or trilobed, alternate, rough in both sides, 5-12 cm long, petioled, cor
Kulekhara or Talmakhna ( Hygrophila auriculata , family: Acanthaceae) is a stout and erect herb with straight and undivided stem. The spiny plant is very popular as a medicinal plant in Bangladesh as well as the Indian subcontinent. Other names: Kulekkha, Kuiley-rekha, Kanta kalika, Shoolmordon. Leaves are lanceolate, subsessile, acute at both ends with long whitish hairs, dense with straight and stout thorns that grow from each node. Outer leaves are longer than the inner ones. Both leaves and thorns remain in upward direction. Flowers in axillary whorls. They are bright violet or bluish purple and red, sometimes whitish with soft and minor hair, corolla 2-lipped. Flower blooms in the winter. Fruit a capsule, 4-8-seeded. Seeds are ovoid (not in the pic). The body of the plant contains alkaloids, phytosterols, stigmasterol, lupeol and essential oils. Its seeds contain oil, enzymes and sterols. The plant is cooling and diuretic in cases of h