Common name: Hill glory bower, Nectar plants, Peruvu
Hill glory bowers are small shrubs that are now disappearing from backyards and roadsides due to increased urbanization. They grow to a height of 1-2 meters with large bunches of white flowers.
The stem is brown and woody towards the base; green and hollow towards the tip, and has thin yellow hair. Hill glory bower leaves are heart-shaped to circular, about 15 cms in diameters with slightly-toothed edges.
Flowers are formed in tall multi-tiered bunches, the lowers ones opening first and then the upper ones. These flowers have 5 distinct petals, the top one being slightly larger than the others.
Flowers are tubular and white with light pink or purple color at the base. Sepals are large, green and form a globe-like bulge at the base of the flower. Hill glory bower flowers also contain four long, white stamens that are about 3 cms long.
Flowers are bisexual, containing male and female reproductive organs in the same flower. They are pollinated by insects, ants and bees that are attracted to the nectar in the flowers.
When the flowers turn to fruits, the sepals become larger and completely enclose the fruit until it matures. These sepals gradually open up when the fruit matures, until it completely folds outwards with the fruit is ripe and ready to germinate.
The fruits turn deep bluish-purple when ripe, and the enlarged sepals turn pink. The fruits contain 2-4 seeds which are about 2-3 mm in diameter.
These plants have many medicinal uses in Ayurvedic, Unani and traditional herbal medicine. The chemicals isolated from the plant, including 7 different sugars raffinose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, glucose, galactose and fructose are beneficial in many ways.
Leaves and root of this plant is used in treatment of convulsions, fever, diabetes, constipation, malaria, scabies, scorpion and snake bites, tumors, wounds and sores. Leaves are used to relieve diarrhea, liver disorders and headaches.
Leaves are heated and applied as a poultice for stomach pain, ulcers, burns, boils and skin diseases. Hill glory bower leaves are used in herbal baths for newborn babies. Roots have been successfully used in treatment of jaundice.
Propagation is through seeds and suckers that grow near the parent plant.