Sodom's Apple

Calotropis procera

عُشر

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Status: Uncommon

Calotropis belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family, it is a tree with a stem of height up to 3m; trunk and branches are covered with thick, cracked bark. The leaves are arranged oppositely on the stem, two leaves arise from each node. The leaves are simple, sub-sessile, slightly thick or fleshy, oblong, obovate to nearly orbicular. The flowers are white and pink, flowering periods ranges from May to November. The fruits are pods, balloon-like, globose to ovoid and producing a milky exudate when cut. It is native to tropical and subtropical Africa, (Somalia, Egypt, Libya, south Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal) and Asia (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Arabia and Jordan), Southern Asia, and Indochina to Malaysia.

Ecology:

Habitats: Thermophilus (heat-loving) plants belongs to Sudanian Chorotype. This plant has substantial morphological plasticity enables it to thrive in harsh conditions of drought, salinity and a wide range of temperatures and urban stress. It reproduces through seeds or vegetatively.

Medicinal uses:

The family Asclepiadaceae secrete milk-like latex that is known traditionally to heal wounds and stop bleeding of fresh cuts. These plants are also known for treating heart failure since they are rich in cardiac glycosides. Calotropis was found to be highly toxic when introduced to mice food, resulting in high abortion rates. The milky sap is used as a rubefacient and is also strongly purgative and caustic. The leaves are used for the treatment of asthma and the flower is digestive and tonic.

Other uses:

An ideal plant for monitoring Sulphur dioxide emissions in the air. The stems are used for roofing and building huts. The wood is a source of charcoal, used for making gunpowder.

Distribution in Palestine:

Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts Distribution and the dead sea.