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Drawing of a plant
Martynia annua at Madayipara
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Martyniaceae
Genus: Martynia
Species: M. annua
Binomial name
Martynia annua

Martynia is a monotypic genus in the Martyniaceae consisting of a single species, Martynia annua, commonly known as the cat's claw, and is endemic to Mexico. It is a popular material for basket making among Native American tribes in the Southwest. The genus and species were first validly described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 publication Species Plantarum. It was first collected, however, by the Scottish naval surgeon William Houstoun near Veracruz, Mexico. Houstoun sent seeds of this new plant to Philip Miller, chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden, in 1731. Houstoun took the opportunity to name the plant Martynia in honor of a professor of botany at Cambridge, John Martyn. The plant was first seen in print in Martyn's famous work Historia Plantarum Rariorum, with a full description and illustration. In this pre-Linnaean nomenclature era, Martyn gave the species the following descriptive name: Martynia annua villosa et viscosa, folio subrotundo, flore magno rubro.[1][2]

Other Names[edit]

Hindi: Hata Jori, Gujarati: Vinchhoodo, Telugu: Garuda Mukku, Marathi: Bhagnaka, English - Tiger's claw, Punjabi: Kaktundi, Bichu, Hathajari, Tamil : Thael kodukkukai, Kaakkaa mookuchedi


Fruits of Martynia with their characteristic hook at the tip.

The plant has medicinal values. In tribal pockets of Chhindwara and Betul Districts, Madhya Pradesh, root decoction is administered for snakebite.[3] In Marudhamalai hills, tribes use the juice of leaf for epilepsy, tuberculosis and sorethroat.[4] Besides these, the stem of the plant is used by Tantriks in some parts of India.


  1. ^ Bretting, Peter Konrad. 1981. A systematic and ethnobotanical survey of Proboscidea and allied genera of the Martyniaceae. Indiana University, Department of Biology. Dissertation.
  2. ^ Hevly, Richard H. 1969. Nomenclatural history and typification of Martynia and Proboscidea (Martyniaceae). Taxon, 18(5): 527-534.
  3. ^ Traditional knowledge on ethno-medicinal uses prevailing in tribal pockets of Chhindwara and Betul Districts, Madhya Pradesh, India - Nath Vijendra and Khatri Pavan Kumar
  4. ^ Some Medicinal plants used by Irular, the tribal people of Marudhamalai hills, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu - M.Senthilkumar, P.Gurumoorthi, and K.Janardhanan

External links[edit]