Combretum indicum, also commonly known as the Rangoon creeper or Burma creeper, is a vine with red flower clusters which is native to tropical Asia and grows in thickets, primary and secondary forest, and along river banks in the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia and the Philippines.: 547 It has since been cultivated and naturalized in tropical areas such as Burma, Vietnam, and Thailand.
The Rangoon creeper is a ligneous vine that can reach from 2.5 meters to up to 8 meters. The leaves are elliptical with an acuminate tip and a rounded base. They grow from 7 to 15 centimeters and their arrangement is opposite.
Flowers and fruit
The flowers are tubular, consisting of oblong petals 6-8 mm long. They are fragrant and have long receptacles to adapt for pollinators with long tongues.: 547–548
They change in colour with age and it is thought that this is a strategy to gather more pollinators. The flower is initially white and opens at dusk to attract hawkmoths. On the second day it turns pink, and on the third it turns red attracting day flying bees and birds. The flower also changes from a horizontal orientation to a drooping pose.: 175 : 548
Buds and flowers of Combretum indicum in West Bengal, India
Flowers in morning
The seeds of this and related species, Quisqualis fructus and Q. chinensis, contain the chemical quisqualic acid, which is an agonist for the AMPA receptor, a kind of glutamate receptor in the brain. The chemical is linked to excitotoxicity (cell death). The seeds have been used for treating roundworm and pinworm. It is toxic to the parasite and kills it in the digestive tract.
Dr John Ivor Murray sent a sample of the "nuts" to the Museum of Economic Botany in Edinburgh in 1861, with a note that they were "used by the Chinese for worms" and a description of the means of preparation and dosage.
Flowers: small, cream corollae surrounded by large pink sepals
'Spines' derived from remnants of petioles
Climbing plant in flower
Foliage: the young leaves (not shown) are brown-tinted
The vines twine round Casuarina equisetifolia for further growth support
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