Flora of the Nilgiris

Family : Asclepiadaceae
Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)

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Calotropis gigantea (L.) R. Br.

Leaf arrangement

Opposite decussate

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

Elliptic, Oblong

Leaf Apex


Leaf Base


Leaf Margin


Habit : A shrub.

Habitat and Distribution : Common by the wayside in wastelands, ready colonizer. Plains from the coast, to 900m. India, Sri Lanka, tropical Himalaya, China, Malaysia.

Indigenous Information : Leaves are highly medicinal and sap is applied to the forehead to cure headache.

Other relevent information : Food plant of the Plain Tiger butterfly and painted grasshopper.

Field Tips : Leaves felted, clasping at base, sessile or sub sessile. Milky latex present.


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English : Giant Milkweed
Irula : Yerukku
Tamil : Yerukku, Arkkam
Hindi : Mudar, Ak
Malayalam : Erikku


In lateral or terminal panicles, purple or lilac or dull white. Flowering peaks from December-May.

Fruit :

A follicle, oblong, inflated. Seeds oblong to ovate. Coma long and silky. Fruiting throughout the year.

All from Asclepiadaceae
Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)