Friday, March 03, 2006


Malabar Blackmouth Melastoma malabathricum

Kan: Ankerki
Tam: Nakkukaruppan
Tel: Pattudu
Mal: Kalampatti
Mar: Palore
Beng: Gongai

The flowers caught my attention while I was walking on the Kumar-parvatha trek route(western ghats, near Mangalore). I had hardly reached the forest, this was on the road-side, in the month of May. Now, the BHS book has helped me identify it.

The plant is found near hills & forests along the streams. Notice the long, wide & glossy leaves.

Flowers may be pink-magenta, purple or white. And have alternate yellow & reddish-purple anthers.

The edible portion of the fruit stains black, hence the name blackmouth. Infact, Blackmouth is a family with trees, shrubs & herbs all promising to stain your mouth black. Melastoma in latin means blackmouth.

Yes, these insects caught my attention. The bee flew-away, while the cricket stay put despite all my attention. Infact, it is said (in the book) that this flower feeds the atlas moth & grey count butterfly.

Note the yellow streak of the cricket, matches so well with that of the anthers.

Yeah! read somewhere that this plant is a potential source for the extraction of natural colourants.

All these, Thanks to Isaac Kehimkar for writing 'Common Indian Wild Flowers' and to BNHS.

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