Asystasia gangetica

Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anderson

Common Names: Chinese Violet, Coromandel, Creeping Foxglove

Family: Acanthaceae

Habit: Asystasia gangetica grows as climbing, creeping herb to 70 cm in height but can climb to over 4 m in height. The leaves are arranged oppositely, up to 8 cm in length and 6 cm wide, ovate to rounded with an acuminate leaf apex and an slightly undulate leaf margin. The petiole is winged.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary and terminal racemes. Each flower subtended by bracts. The calyx has 5, green, linear sepals that are slightly fused at their base.  The corolla has 5, fused, white blue to purple violet, petals in 2 sets (2 upper petals and 3 lower petals).  There are 4 stamens (in 2 connate pairs) fused to the corolla tube.  The superior ovary has 2 locules and numerous ovules. The fruit is an explosively dehiscent capsule at maturity.

Habitat: Asystasia gangetica grows in Human Altered environments (yards, gardens, abandoned fields).

Distribution: Asystasia gangetica is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but has been observed on Eleuthera and New Providence. It is native to Australia, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. It now also occurs in the Caribbean region, Central and parts of South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Asystasia gangetica is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

In Africa it has been used to treat respiratory problems.