Rhythm Of Nature

Violet Asystasia Flower

Violet Asystasia is one of the weeds we often overlook although its flowers are very beautiful. If you have an interest in photographing flora, you will surely find that its flower is so photogenic.

Violet Asystasia is commonly known by the name uppudali or upputheli in Kerala. It is a perennial herb from the family Acanthaceae.

Violet Asystasia or Uppudali Plant - Asystasia dalzelliana
Violet Asystasia Flower – Photo from Kottayam, Kerala

Important Details

Plant Type: Herb
Family: Acanthaceae
Scientific name: Asystasia dalzelliana

Height: ~50 cm
Flowers: Purple, 4 cm long, 5 lobes
Flowering: September to November

Common name in Malayalam: Uppudali/Upputheli

Appearance

This Asystasia plant can be about 50 cm tall with purple flowers occurring in a line at the terminal.

The flower has five petals or lobes with the lower lobe bigger with a dark purple shade. Flowering usually starts from the month of September and lasts till around November.

The oval-shaped leaves have opposite arrangement.

It looks very similar to A.gangetica. Both often grow on the same premises and acts as a host plant for butterflies like Spotted Flat.

Violet Asystasia
The oval leaves
Violet Asystasia
The flower looks stunning under the morning sunlight – photographed in 2013

Distribution

According to Catalogue of Life, Asystasia dalzelliana is found in southern India, mainly in the Western Ghats.

Although its range of distribution is very limited, it is common in places where it occurs. Like many other pea plants, it grows well under shades.

Traditional Uses & Medicinal Values

The stem of this plant had been used in places like Kerala to refine impure salt. The crushed stem is added to boiling saltwater. Continue to boil it until the impurities start floating above the water. Remove these impurities to obtain pure saltwater. That is how the plant got the name Uppudali Uppu meaning salt in Malayalam.

Apart from this, the herb had been used in certain parts of Africa to treat arthritis. Recent studies also reveal that the extracts of this plant may be helpful in the treatment of ailments like rheumatoid arthritis.

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