Chameleon Plant

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Common name: Chameleon Plant, Toningkhok (Manipuri)

Botanical name: Houttuynia cordata

Family: Saururaceae (lizard-tail family)

Chameleon Plant is a perennial ground cover plant. It is been marketed as a creeping ornamental garden plant, which has heart shaped leaves up to 75 mm long and almost as wide. The leaves are comprised of a mixture of colors from green through yellow to red, the brighter colors being more prominent when grown in full sunlight. The leaves are opposite along thin erect stems which arise from slender rhizomes. The minute flowers are densely clustered on short spikes. At the base of each spike are four white petal-like parts. The leaves of Chameleon Plant are heart-shaped, usually green, but take on various colors like variegated cream, bronze, scarlet, and have a peppery scent when crushed. The leaves make a marvelous flavoring in salads. In Manipur, people love it and consume it in various ways, as salad, also in pakodas.

Medicinal uses: Leaf-extract is used in dysentry, rhizome is used i stomach ulcers. Boiled extract of rhizomes is taken for muscular pains due to overstrain.


[edit] See Also

Medicinal plants of India