Calotropis procera* auct. non (Ait.) Ait. f.: Hook. f.
Erect shrub or small tree up to 3 m tall, much branched from the base, latex milky; young branches covered with white cottony tomentum. Bark soft, corky. Leaves 5-15 x 1.8-10 cm, broadly ovate, ovate-oblong, elliptic or obovate, entire, base cordate, apex acute, subsessile, young leaves covered with white cottony tomentum, becoming subglabrous. Flowers c. 2.5 cm across, white outside, purplish within, tips darker. Peduncles upto 10 cm long, pedicels 1.5-4.2 cm long. Sepals c. 5 mm long. Corolla 1-1.2 cm long, divided c. 2/3 the way down, glabrous, lobes acute. Fruit 6.5-9.5 x 3-5.1 cm, recurved, tip not invaginated in the tissue of the fruit. Seeds 6-8 mm long, flat, broadly ovate, minutely tomentose, comose, coma 3.1-3.2 cm long.
Fl. Per.: All the year round.
Lectotype: ‘Asclepias muddahr, Ascl. 92C’, Wall. Cat. 8215 (K-W, E).
Distribution: Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iran (?), Iraq (?).
A medicinal plant. The latex is irritant to the skin and mucous membrane and said to cause blindness. It is also used as a purgative and said to be specific for Guinea worms. The seed floss is used for stuffing mattresses, pillows etc. It is sometimes used to adulterate Indian Kapok but it is inferior to it in resilience and water repellent properties. Being short stapled it cannot be spun by it-self.
The type subspecies which differs from subsp. hamiltonii in having bigger (10.8-14.5 cm x 9.7-11.7 cm) almost globose fruits with the tip invaginated at maturity, is not represented in our area.