Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea)

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Common Name: Lembiago, Crown Flower, Giant Indian Milkweed, Giant Milkweed, Ivory Plant, Swallow-wort, Asclepiad Tree, Kayu Berduri, Kemengu, Rembaga, Remiga, Merigu
(Chinese): 牛角瓜, 大皇冠花

Botanical name: Calotropis gigantea

Synonym: Asclepias gigantea
Family: Asclepiadaceae

   

Plant Description:
Medium to big shrub useful for screening purposes. Young leaves and young stems covered with fine hair. Flowers are large and attractive, with central crown-like corona, hence tthe common name ‘Crown Flower’. Fragrant flowers.

Member of milkweed family. Milky sap is toxic to mammals — sap is known to be used to induce abortions and for infanticide.

Host plant for butterflies like Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) and Common Crow (Euploea core) — caterpillars that feed on its leaves are unpalatable to predators. Nectar from flowers attract Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa sp.).

Ethnobotanical Uses:
Herb & Spice (Medicinal), Cut Flower
All parts of plants considered to be medicinally effective, if taken in small doses. Bark used for dermatitis and syphilis — treatment is so effective for the latter that plant is known as ‘vegetable mercury’. Leaves used as poultice. Flowers used to relieve asthma.

Plant sap used for tanning and making yellow dye. Fine fibre can be extracted from stems. Flowers are long-lasting, and often used as cut flower in floral arrangements in Thailand. Flowers also strung into leis in Hawaii.

Latex is used to remove thorns from the skin.

Ecological Distribution:  Prevalence and native of India, Ceylon and China. Found in Singapore, Borneo and Java Islands.

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