Common Name: Bell weed. Tamil Name: Pottakanchi
Bell weed is a prostrate plant often seen on road-sides and forest edges in Tamilnadu. The flowers are attractive and appear in whitish-violet color. The leaves are simple and arranged oppositely many times seen whorled. The stem is green in color, ribbed and the plant is spreads on the ground by rooting at nodes. The leafing nodes are far apart from each other by around 5 cm. The leaf length is highly variable: 1.4 cm to 1.8 cm. The upper leaf surface is green in color the lower surface is whitish-green in color. The leaves are obovate and sometimes near orbicular in shape; the base of leaf is rounded and apex is also rounded with a small notch. The flowers are whitish-purple in color and occur on the leaf axis and are generally solitary. The calyx is green in color; the calyx teeth’s are lanceolate. The flower is bi-lipped and tubular and measure around 3.2 cm in length. The flower encloses 4 stamens; two sets of stamens of different sizes; and also has a long style which measure around 2.2 cm. The fruit is in the form of a pod which is club shaped. The pod breaks open to release the seeds; on the broken pod the teeth’s are visible. The pod encloses 8-10 number of seeds (2 mm across) which are flat round and grey in color with a small beak. Bell weed can be deployed as an ornamental herb in gardens; the flowers generally open only during the morning time. The plant is slated to have anti-cancer properties. Bell weed is a larval host plant for Tiny grass blue and Chocolate pansy butterflies (source-www.ifoundbutterflies.org).