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Calotropis gigantea

Calotropis gigantea

Family

Asclepiadaceae

Synonyms

Asclepias gigantea L.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Remiga, rembega, kemengu.
English Crown flower, giant Indian milkweed.
Indonesia Bidhuri (Sundanese, Madurese), sidaguri (Javanese), rubik (Aceh).
Philippines Kapal-kapal (Tagalog).
Laos Kok may, dok kap, dok hak.
Thailand Po thuean, paan thuean (northern), rak (central).
Vietnam B[oot]ng b[oot]ng, l[as] hen, nam t[it] b[at].
French Faux arbre de soie, mercure vegetal.

Geographical Distributions

From India and Sri Lanka to Thailand and southern China, naturalised in Malesia and Hawaii in coastal areas.

Description

This species is a large shrub or small tree, about 3-4(-10) m tall. Its stems are erect, up to 20 cm in diametre.

The leaves are broadly elliptical to oblong-obovate in shape, with the size of 9-20 cm x 6-12.5 cm but subsessile. The cymes are 5-12.5 cm in diametre.

The inflorescence stalk is between 5-12 cm long, the stalk of an individual flower is 2.5-4 cm long. Sepal lobes are broadly egg-shaped with a size of 4-6 mm x 2-3 mm. Petal is 2.5-4 cm in diametre The petal lobes are broadly triangular measuring 10-15 mm x 5-8 mm; they are pale lilac and cream coloured towards the tips. The outgrown like structure from the petal (corona) has 5 narrow fleshy scales, connected to and shorter than the staminal column, forming an upturned horn with 2 obtuse auricles on either side, cream coloured or lilac to purple, with a dense longitudinal dorsal row of short white hairs.

The egg-shaped or boat-shaped fruits are mostly in pairs, inflated, 6.5-10 cm x 3-5 cm.

Ecology / Cultivation

C. gigantea is a common weed in open waste ground, roadsides and railway lines, as well as village surroundings.  It grows especially on littoral sandy soils and dry uncultivated land, with periodic dry periods.

Line Drawing / Photograph

BOT00017

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  1) Poisonous Plant

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2). 1998, Unesco.

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