Hophead Philippine Violet

Barleria lupulina Lindl.

OVERVIEW

The plant is native to Mauritius and Eastern India, and can now be found widely naturalized in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Within India it has recently spread to the Southern part of the country where it is now growing wild in parts of Tamil Nadu. It is often grown as an ornamental, usually as a flowering hedge plant.

VERNACULAR NAMES

Hophead barleria (Australia), Barré bolé (Haiti), Cem-mulli (India), Dog bush (Lesser Antilles), Phimsen ton (Thai), Lengua de culebra (Venezuela), Kanta vishalyakarni (Bengali), Neel saireyak (Sanskrit).

AGROECOLOGY

B. lupulina grows best in warm and humid conditions on sandy and loam sandy soils with pH ranging from 6.1 to 8.5. Prefers a position in full sun or partial shade and a fertile, moist but well-drained soil. In Australia, it can be also found growing along roadsides and disturbed areas up to 300 m elevation.

MORPHOLOGY

  • Roots – taproot.
  • Leaves – linear-oblong, 3-9.5 cm long, base cuneate, apex obtuse, midrib red above, petiole short, red.
  • Inflorescence – a terminal spike with overlapping bracts, up to 9 cm long, bracts broadly ovate, 1.2 cm long, ciliolate, purple tinged, on the back with cupular glands, bracteoles lanceolate, 4 mm long.
  • Corolla – tube 3 cm long, bent at base, expanded above, lobes 5, orange-yellow, stamens 4, didynamous, 2 exserted; longer stamen filaments approximately 2 cm long; shorter stamens fertile.
  • Fruits – a capsule, ovoid, 2-seeded.
  • Seeds – round, flat, blackish brown.

CULTIVATION

  • Propagated by seeds and stem cuttings. Seeds germinate readily within 7 days after sowing.

CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS

  • Phenylethanoid glycoside, barlerinoside iridoid glycosides, shanzhiside methyl ester, barlerin, acetylbarlerin, 7-methoxydiderroside, 6-O-trans-p-coumaroyl-8-O-acetylshanzhiside methyl ester, and lupulinoside.

TRADITIONAL MEDICINAL USES

  • The leaves are anti-inflammatory and diuretic.
  • The extract showed hypoglycaemic, antispasmodic and uterine stimulant activities.
  • The roots are applied to bring relief from centipede bites.
  • The leaves, roots or sometimes the seeds occurring in South-East Asia are chewed against toothache, and a poultice of the leaves is put on the bites of insects, snakes or dogs.
  • An infusion of the roots and leaves is applied to boils and sores to reduce swellings, and to soothe urticaria skin rash.
  • The leaves are chewed for aphthae, bleeding gums and whooping cough, and as a paste or infusion they are used to cure earache, backache and headache.
  • In Java, India and Vietnam, the leaves are chewed for intermittent fever, rheumatism, liver diseases, indigestion with constipation, jaundice and dropsy, asthma, urinary troubles and paralysis.

Reference Sources

  1. Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. (2021). Barleria lupulina Lindl.
    https://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Barleria+lupulina. 28-01-2021.
  2. Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens. (2021). Barleria lupulina Lindl. http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org
    /taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:46059-1. 28-01-2021.