Today’s entry was written by Alexis Kho. Thanks to the contributions of many BPotD readers, we’ve been fortunate yet again to be able to get a work-study student to help with Botany Photo of the Day. Alexis has just completed her third year in the Science and Management Major in the UBC Faculty of Forestry’s Natural Resources Conservation program. Alexis writes:
Thank you to Jayesh Patil aka jayeshp912@Flickr for providing today’s photograph. This photo shows the cream-white flowers and green sepals of Leea indica.
Leea indica is a member of the grape family, Vitaceae. Also known as bandicoot berry, it is an evergreen shrub naturally distributed throughout areas of India, China, Indo-China and Malesia and also found in Australia and the Pacific Islands. It is a commonly occurring species that grows as a spreading shrub or a tree up to 5m tall in the understory of disturbed and second-growth evergreen forests. The cream-coloured flowers of Leea indica grow in cymes and eventually produce small dark purple berries.
Extracts from Leea indica roots are traditionally used to treat colic, diarrhea, ulcers, skin disease and dysentery and to relieve thirst. Also a traditional use, the leaves are roasted and used on the head to relieve vertigo. Recent studies have found that extracts from the species–by inducing cell death–may have the potential to be developed as an anticancer drug (see Hsiung WY and Kadir HA. 2011. Leea indica Ethyl Acetate Fraction Induces Growth-Inhibitory Effect in Various Cancer Cell Lines and Apoptosis in Ca Ski Human Cervical Epidermoid Carcinoma Cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. vol. 2011, Article ID 293060, 13 pages. doi:10.1155/2011/293060).