Calotropis gigantea

Calotropis gigantea (L.) R. Br.              

Family       :  Asclepiadaceae 

Common Name : എരുക്ക്(Mal)

                                 Crown Flower (Eng)

   सफ़ैद आक  (Hin)                         

This large shrub, which can sometimes grow large enough to look  like a small tree, sports clusters of waxy flowers that are either white or lavender in color. Each flower consists of five pointed petals and a small, elegant "crown" rising from the center, which holds the stamens. The plant has oval, light green leaves and milky stem. The flowers last long, and in Thailand they are used in various floral arrangements. They were also supposed to be popular with the Hawaii queen Liliuokalani, who considered them as symbol of royalty and wore them strung into leis. In India, the plant is common in the compounds of temples. The fruit is a follicle and when dry, seed dispersal is by wind .

Shrubs, stem rounded. Leaves simple, opposite, 10-16 x 8-10 cm, smaller in branchlets, elliptic-ovate to obovate, apex acute or obtuse, base cordate; lateral nerves 5-7 pairs, adpressed pubescent when young, becoming glabrous on maturity. Flowers pale purple, white or greenish-white, to 3 cm across; pedicels to 3 cm long, stout. Calyx lobes to 3 mm long. Corolla campanulate, tube short, lobes ovate to oblong, recurved. staminal corona of 5 vertical lobes, 1 cm long. Carpels free. Fruit saccate, to 6 x 3 cm, ovoid, ventricose; seeds many, broadly ovate, flattened, narrowly margined, minutely tomentose, coma 3-4 cm long. 


Calotropis yields a durable fiber (commercially known as bowstring of India) useful for ropes, carpets, fishing nets, and sewing thread. Floss, obtained from seeds, is used as stuffing. Crown flower cotton can also be used to make a pillow. A fermented mixture of Calotropis and salt is used to remove the hair from goat skins for production of nari leather and from sheep skins to make leather which is much used for inexpensive book binding.Fungicidal which is far effective than oinmentand insecticidal properties of Calotropis have been reported. 


Tropical  Asia 

Flowering & Fruiting :  

Throughout the year