Woodfordia fruticosa (L.) Kurz, J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 40(2): 56 56 (1871)

Latin for 'shrub', referring to growth form.

Lythrum fruticosum L.
Lythrum hunteri DC.
Woodfordia floribunda Salisb.
Woodfordia fruticosa forma genuina Kurz ex Koehne
Woodfordia tomentosa Bedd.

Shrubs, 1-5 m tall. Stems and branches pendulous, long, pubescent when young, becoming glabrous. Leaves lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, 3-14 x 1-4 cm, leathery, abaxially sparsely to densely tomentose and orange to black glandular punctate, adaxially glabrous, base rounded to subcordate, apex acuminate. Inflorescences condensed axillary shoots of 1-15 flowers. Floral tube light red, red-orange, or deep red, greenish basally, narrowly cyathiform, 9-15 mm; sepals oblong-ovate or deltate, 2-3 mm; epicalyx segments scarcely present. Petals 6, thin, linear-lanceolate, 1-5 mm, ca. as long as sepals. Stamens 12 , inserted above ovary base, long-exserted. Ovary 2-loculed; ovules 100+. Capsules elongate, elliptic. Seeds reddish brown, ca. 1.5 mm. [from Flora of China]

Common in forests and on open slopes.

The plant is a well-known non-wood forest produce that has long been in regular demand amongst practitioners of traditional medicines in different South East Asian countries. Although all parts of this plant possess valuable medicinal properties, there is a heavy demand for the flowers, both in domestic and international markets specialized in the preparation of herbal medicines. Plant pacifies vitiated kapha, pitta, skin diseases, burning sensation, hemorrhage, anemia, leucorrhea, menorrhagia, diarrhea, dysentery, ulcers, diabetes, oligospermia, urinary tract infections and jaundice. It is used to give natural color to ayurvedic preparations.

From Pakistan, Nepal and India to southern China, Indochina, and Indonesia.

Local names
China: Xia zi hua.
English: Fire flame bush.
Sanskrit: Dhai phul.