Wattakaka volubilis

Wattakaka volubilis (L. f.) Stapf (ASCLEPIADACEAE)
Common names
Kannada: Hegalu balli.
Tamil: Kurincha.

Description:  Large twining shrubs with watery sap except milky in follicles; older branches ash-colored; often with lenticels; young branches green, slender, smooth. Leaves opposite, broadly ovate or subordicular, 6-15 x 4-12 cm, rounded or cordate at base, acuminate at apex, glabrous, softly pubescent; petioles 1.5-3 cm long. Flowers in 2-5 cm long lateral drooping umbellate cymes, green or yellowish green; peduncles arising from between the petioles. Calyx 5-partite with glands at the base. Corolla lobes 5, pale green. Corona single; lobes 5, fleshy, truncate, attached to the base of staminal column; pollinia 2, erect. Ovary 2-locular, style short, apex dome-shaped. Fruit- woody follicles, blunt at the apex, 7-10 x 2.5 cm, rugosely striate, glabrous. Seeds many, broadly ovate, 0.8 – 1.5 cm long, flattened, pale yellowish-brown, coma, ca 4.5 cm long, copious.
Flowering & Fruiting: March– November.

Distribution: India: Western Peninsula. Common in plains and hills, up to 1600 m. West Bengal, Assam. Sri Lanka, Java, Indomalesia.

Uses: Leaves, flowers and the rind of unripe fruits are boiled and eaten as a vegetable or used in curries, the cooking removes the bitterness and nauseating property of fruits. Plant yields a very strong fibre. Twining stems are used as substitute for ropes. Plant juice used as sternutatory; root and tender stalk emetic and purgative; leaf used in applications for boils and abcesses.