NOM. VULG.—Makahiya, Damog̃hiya, Tag.; Mahihiin, Iloc.
USES.—A decoction of the leaves is used internally as an expectorant. The bruised leaves are used as an application to wounds and contusions. In Java the decoction is used internally in asthma, phthisis and snake bites.
The peculiar property which this plant possesses of closing its leaves when touched, has caused the natives of India to attribute to it mysterious virtues.
Symbolism has determined its therapeutic application and the Hindoos pretend that it endows with delicacy and modesty women who lack these virtues and that it restores virginity.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant about 7′ high. Stem straight, nodose and without branches. Leaves abruptly pinnate, the place of the odd leaflet taken by a stylet. The leaflets nearly linear with a small point at the apex, 11–13 pairs, 2 stipules to each pair. Common petioles long, cleft at the base and disposed in whorls around and on the end of the stem. Flowers sessile, verticillate, on the ends of several very long peduncles which rise from the midst of the petioles.
Calyx, 5 sepals. Corolla, 5 petals, clawed, rounded at the end and slightly notched, forming a tube. Stamens 10, free. A small gland on the outer surface of the base of each short stamen. Styles 5. Seed vessels ovate, 5-angled, containing many seeds.
HABITAT.—Common in all parts of the islands.
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