The perennial herb Podophyllum hexandrum (syn. P. emodi), bearing the common names Himalayan mayapple or Indian may apple, is native to the lower elevations in and surrounding the Himalaya. It is low to the ground with glossy green, drooping, lobed leaves on its few stiff branches, and it bears a pale pink flower and bright red-orange bulbous fruit. The ornamental appearance of the plant make it a desirable addition to woodland-type gardens. It can be propagated by seed or by dividing the rhizome. It is very tolerant of cold temperatures, as would be expected of a Himalayan plant, but it is not tolerant of dry conditions. Its name in Hindi and Ayurveda is bantrapushi or Giriparpat.
The plant is poisonous, but when processed has medicinal properties.[medical citation needed] The rhizome of the plant contains a resin, known generally and commercially as Indian Podophyllum Resin, which can be processed to extract podophyllotoxin, or podophyllin, a neurotoxin. The North American variant of this Asian plant contains a lower concentration of the toxin, but has been more extensively studied.
Phodophyllum hexandrum has some good population in the Great Himalayan National Park of Himachal Pradesh. In the fringes of the famous Valley of Flowers National Park the study conducted by Prof C.P. Kala shows some scattered population of this important species, locally called as 'ban kakdi'. Here its density is about 0.98 individuals per meter square. It grows across the Indian Himalayan region.
- http://www.himalayanvoices.org/?q=onlinelib/documentation/natural/ethnobotanic&page=3 Himalayan Voices
- Kala, Chandra Prakash (2003). Medicinal Plants of Indian Trans Himalaya. Dehradun: Bishan Singh Mahendra Pal Singh. p. 200.
- Kala, Chandra Prakash (2005). "Indigenous uses, population density and conservation of threatened medicinal plants in the protected areas of Indian Himalaya.". Conservation Biology 19 (2): 368–378. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00602.x.
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