Justicia betonica L., Sp. Pl. 15 1753. ;
J. trinervia and J. betonica are two distinct species: the former is generally a low-lying procumbent herb with narrow leaves, whereas the latter species is a taller, erect herb/subshrub/shrub reaching 2 m high, with ovate-lanceolate leaves. (nevertheless, the bracts are similar-looking: scarious with green nerves in both the species);


Acanthaceae for id 200411MK2:
Please help to id this common shrub found on roadsides. I saw this plant densely in the campus of IIT-M, Chennai and also in Erode district of TN.

Date/Time- 17-04-2011 / 05:00 PM
Location- Place, Altitude, GPca.450asl; Coimbatore dist., TN
Habitat- Garden/ Urban/ Wild/ Type- roadside
Plant Habit-shrub
Height/Length- 1 – 1.5 m
Leaves Type/ Shape/ Size- 10 x 5 cm
Inflorescence Type/ Size- raceme; 10 cm longer
Flowers Size/ Colour/ Calyx/ Bracts- white; 1.5 cm across
Fruits Type/ Shape/ Size Seeds- c.1 x 0.4 cm

Justicia betonica … please wait for comments

Justicia betonica

[image: Discussions at efloraofindia]<.>
[image: more views in flickr] <Flickr>
[image: more views on Google Earth]<Link>
commonly known as: rose-spotted white-flowered Justice wort, squirrel’s tail, white shrimp plant • Coorgi: madd toppu• Hindi: ¿ हाड़पात ? hadpat, ¿ मोकंदर ? mokander, ¿ प्रमेहःहराती ? pramehaharati • Kannada: ¿ ಆತಿ ? ಸೊಪ್ಪು aati soppu •Malayalam: vellakurunji • Marathi: गुलाबी अडुलसा gulabi adulasa • Sanskrit: श्वेत सहचरः sveta-sahacarah • Tamil:வேலிமூங்கில் veli-munkil • Telugu: tellarantu
botanical names: – Justicia betonica • synonym: Nicoteba betonica


Acanthaceae Week: Squirrel’s tail – Justicia betonica, a native weed plant:
Squirrel’s tail  – Hill Justicia, Justicia betonica, a native weed plant of India
    While Scanning through my wasp photo collection, I  soon realized this particular flowering plant ..Squirrel’s tail  – Justicia betonica.. (Thanks to Dr. .. for the ID help.,) had attracted at least a dozen kind of wasps ( few
bees too). Dreaming of a wasp garden in my home, I collected few young one’s with roots along with few other wasp plants & planted them in  my home ground. A week later.. I found all of them breathing. Still Alive…. Three weeks later .. the squirrel tails had disappeared altogether.
My sightings suggests they are found along the canal & lake edge habitat.  These plants start emerging just before the South West Monsoon commences and are in found in abundance in this habitat  till the spring ends.
    Chandagal village, Krishnarajanagar, Mysore district.
Weed plant
Habitat:  along the canal and lake edges
    Few of my South Indian wasp pictures,
Birds, reptiles, mammals and insects – I have a tremendous liking for all of them. These wasp photographs have been taken in their natural habitats mainly on the village outskirts and a few in the forests as well. (collection started from 2004 onwards). I love these creatures for they are beautiful with true colour combinations and patterns , beautiful pair of antenna and for the way they keep their steps with elegance, graceful pivoting around the flowers, moving its feelers, flying from one flower to another and feeding on nectar. They have very interesting behaviour – choosing the thatched roof for building nests, collecting clay from nearby waterbodies, Buzzing and flying into home from the window/open doors, nest building skills (of certain wasps), flying with larvaes into nests and sometimes paralysing spiders and dragging into nests, closing the entrance of the nest…. Though, there are many stories on wasp attacks among villagers 9mainly when disturbed), I thank them for allowing me always to take few pictures in close proximities.

I an in total awe… we  ( I ) generally run far from wasps ( I have allergic reactions to some wqaasp and bee stings)…
but wonder of wonders… great photos on your picassa album…. awesome and inspiring… they are crisp, beautifully done…. seems you took time to focus etc… spent time  near each of the stingers…
and this particular justicia, i have never seen one in this part of india….  striking green veins..

Extremely beautiful pictures ……i am a regular reader of National geographic magazine since 1998. i am sure your clicks are more than just comparable.
can you give me details of your equipment (camera and flash)?

I have a Nikon D40, 18-55mm lens, 70-300mm Nikkor VR and Panasonic Lumix FZ3 (12x).
(Back in 2007, I got hooked to  Nikon D40 reviews, recommendations and release dates (Kenrockwell.com, dpreview.com, steves-digicams.com). Saved enough for months and purchased this equipment the moment it was available in Bangalore. Probably I was one of the first to buy this model in Bangalore… We have far better camera options now. Just get a good one and start clicking..

Camera equipment and the accessories are coming anew daily and just like mobile phones, you buy something in morning and it is outdated by evening. though in case of cameras it takes a few days at least. there are people who are still using the so called “completely outdated” film role cameras to click photos and give results worth dying for. but what i think is that its the ingenuity and ideas of the person behind the camera which is important. but yeah surely the equipment can contribute to to the patience, inventiveness, viewpoint and importance of the shot which are very very important for the photographs which you had posted.
once again i congratulate you on your work….


… names of Justicia betonica in Kannada and Coorgi:
Please help in providing valid words for names of Justicia betonica in Kannada and Coorgi.

An extract from a post in Kodaga Community web site:
Madd Toppu” (Justicia betonica) as it is called in Kodava parlance (“Aati Soppu” in Kannada).
… would madd be:
1) ಮಡ್ಡ
2) ಮದ್ದ
3) yet different than the above
… would toppu be:
1) ಟೊಪ್ಪು
2) ತೊಪ್ಪು
3) yet different than the above
… would aati be:
1) ಆಟಿ
2) ಆತಿ
3) yet different than the above

Just made a small study on Justicia betonica in Kannada and Kodavas

– There is no such word aati in any of the Kannada dictionaries I refered.
– Kodavas use Kannada words while speaking in their language.   Based on that I think.
Madd means Medicinal ) (In Kannada its Madd, (Madh),  Maddu, )
– (Tokku ) Soppu (meaning Green leaves)
So, Madd Tokku translates to Medicinal green leaves. Not the exact species.
Justicia Betonica is indeed a medicinal plant as per the link you have mentioned.
Here is a link, frlht mentions Betonica justicia as Kaadu kanakambara. (Forest(Wild) crossandra.
More acceptable.

As per KB Sadananda (Rtd. Deputy Editor-Kannada Encyclopedia, University of Mysore) and K Sampathkumar (lecturer, Davanagere PU college), in kodava langauage
Justicia wynadensis is called as madde toppu or AaTi soppu. AaTi in kodava is ASHADA a  during which KASHAYA (juice) of justicia wynadensis is prepared and consumed on healthy grounds. It is not Justicia betonica.

.. with the information you cited in context of *Justicia wynaadensis*, would like to know if the spellings in native (Kannada) script used by the Kodaga, put here are correct.
ಮದ್ದೆ ಟೊಪ್ಪು madde toppu
ಆಟಿ ಸೊಪ್ಪು aati soppu

Shrub 5 for identification:
This shrub was clicked at Chennai, South India by the road side. There were about a 100 plants in the area, all growing in a tight group just at this one spot. Does this plant attract butterflies? Also what are the good cameras (within the budget of about 25 K, for plant photography, especially for the flowers where images would be sharp through out the picture. These images were taken in Canon 1000D. Image 4 in portrait mode and image1 in TV mode with flash around 7.30 a.m.

Looks like J. betonica. Were bract of all the plants green or you could see some individuals with white bracts (a specialized leaf or leaflike part, usually situated at the base of a flower or inflorescence)?
Hesperidae butterflies were seen foraging most of the Acanthaceae plants.

Yes .. Justicia betonica


[EfloraIndia_211211PD02_Justicia betonica_Flora of Odisha]:
please find the images of Justicia betonica taken from Ranpur

Name of the species; Justicia betonica
Family; Acanthaceae
Place of collection: Ranpur, nayagarh, Odisha
Habit: Herb
habitat: wild, Under the canopy of moist deciduous forests

Here is link for news item published in state newspaper on this species focused on my work.

justicia trinervia, last week at kates point, mahabeleshwar

Yes, but the current accepted name is J. betonica http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/tro-100073
Nice pictures, btw!

It is good that brought this up because
I did see that they are synonyms and that J.betonica is the current accepted name, and I should have mentioned it. but the images at Flowers of india and elsewhere were different.
Please do see them. It would be nice to know.
Flowers of India

I agree with the treatments followed in flowersofindia website.
I also strongly believe that J. trinervia and J. betonica are two distinct species: the former is generally a low-lying procumbent herb with narrow leaves, whereas the latter species is a taller, erect herb/subshrub/shrub reaching 2 m high, with ovate-lanceolate leaves. (nevertheless, the bracts are similar-looking: scarious with green nerves in both the species).
Your plant looks like J. betonica to me.
The Plant List follows Tropicos which has treated J. trinervia as synonym to J. betonica based on two publications (Russell et al., 1987; Immelmann, 1988). But I think it needs a recheck.
Let’s wait for comments…


Justicia betonica:
second pink flower i found after Euphorbia parvifoila is Justicia betonica (Acanthaceae) गुलाबी अडुळसा On 28/11/2012 At yeoor,Thane (SGNP)


Herb ID request – RK85 – 8-Jan-2013:
Requesting identification of this herb from Tungareshwer. It is around 5 feet tall and is flowering and fruiting now. The stem is swollen at the nodes.

… the white shrimp plant OR the rose-spotted white-flowered Justice wortJusticia betonica (family: Acanthaceae).


180212 BRS315:
Pl. find the attached file contain photo for id. request.

Date: 17.02.2012
Location: Kodungarai River, Anaikatti, Coimbatore
Habitat: Stream
Habit: Herb.

A species of Rungia of Acanthaceae family.

This appears Justicia betonica of Acanthaceae

Yes you are correct …, it is Justicia betonica L. of Acanthaceae family.
My id was wrong. Thanks for correcting me.

the hollow stems are used in religious rituals.

Even this doesn’t appear to be Justicia betonica.
It looks much different. Let us have some more comments.

The characteristic whitish bracts with green nerves suggest it is Justicia betonica.


110713 ASP 99 : Attachments (1). 3 posts by 3 authors.
Please ID this shrub with white flowers. Photo is from Sri Lanka taken in Jan 2013.

Justicia betonica, I suppose.

Justicia betonica var. ramosissima?


Climber for ID (i) : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (9).
Bangalore 6th May

Justicia betonica L. [Acanthaceae], a diffuse herb or undershrub.

Justicia betonica var. ramosissima


BND 23 2/11/14 :  2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1).
Please ID this herbaceous ornamental/medicinal plant with white flowers. Photo was taken in Sri Lanka in March 2013.

Justicia betonica L.

Fwd: Acanthaceae if from Bangladesh SM 194 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2)
Habitat- wild, flowering-January

Looks like Justicia betonica

Acanthaceae fortnight SN03 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)
Justicia betonica L., erect under shrub near villages, common

Justicia betonica L.
near Lion’s Point on October 15, 2010
near Koraigad on October 8, 2011

Attached are pictures of Justicia betonica captured at Satara, Sajjangad in October 2014.
Was posted on the forum earlier and identified.


Requesting to please validate ID of this Justicia sp. captured near Satara, Maharashtra in October 2014.
Is this Justicia betonica?

yes it is Justicia betonica

Justicia betonica L.
at Yeoor Hills on November 14, 2009

Superb..!! thanks …

¿ Justicia / Lepidagathis ?
Not sure whether this plant is any species of Justicia. Growing along road side, the plant resembles much to J. wynaadensis, but the flower seems different, the bracts remind me of J. betonica. ID please.
at Kodagu Valley on March 30, 2011

efi pages on Justicia wynaadensis, Justicia betonica Justicia trinervia           
Lepidagathis species in eFloraofindia (with details/ keys from published papers/ regional floras/ FRLHT/ FOI/ Biotik/ efloras/ books etc., where ever available)  

Yes … The scarious and green-nerved bract is characteristic to Justicia betonica.

Acanthaceae Fortnight :: Justicia betonica ?? :: Harishchandragad:: PKA-MAR107/107: : 5 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)
Is this Justicia betonica ?? ( Location: Harishchandragad).

Yes …, no doubts … it is Justicia betonica.


Names of Plants in India :: Telugu name of Justicia betonica : 3 posts by 1 author.
Dear friends, please help in providing the Telugu name tellarantu (or thellarantu) for Justicia betonica, in native script.
Reference : ENVIS – FRLHT

From the dictionary, I could find తెల్ల = white / pale … a prefix quite often used to describe a white / pale form of some aspect of the plant.
But I am not confident with the latter part of the name “rantu”.

It is written as తెల్ల రంతు Rantu means way/road in telugu because of white veins seen as roads on the bract it may be called TELLA RANTU

Thank you very much … for the name and etymology. Great help.

Justicia trinervia : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
Justicia trinervia hopefully
kaas plateau
third week of october 2016

I think it should be Justicia betonica as per keys at efi thread & details at Justicia betonica and Justicia trinervia

Acanthaceae For ID : Lalbagh,Bangalore : 28JAN17 : AK-13 : 7 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)
Cultivated plants in Lalbagh.
Pictures taken in the first week of this month (Jan’2017)
Justicia Species?

Is it Justicia betonica?

Pl. Check at EFI site. There is another similar confusing species.

Yes, this is Justicia betonica with its typical green-veined scarious bracts.

Bhagamandala – Thalacauvery Road Karnataka
Date: 22 FEB 2017 … Altitude range: ~ 907 – 1122 m (2976 – 3683 ft) asl
Justicia betonica L. … (family: Acanthaceae

Justicia betonica—-for sharing and validation : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)
Pics taken at Aambyvalley Rd., Lonavala, Pune in Oct.16.


Thanks, … To me also appear close to images at

Justicia betonica :: Yercaud :: 24 JAN 18 : 2 posts by 2 authors. 5 images.
Yercaud … (literally, lake forest), Tamil Nadu
… along ghat road near Gundur … Date: January 24, 2018 … Altitude: about 1,623 m (5324 feet) asl
Justicia betonica L. … (family: Acanthaceae)

on fort Ghangad near LonavalaOct’10?; 14.11.2010 Melkote, Mandya district, Karnataka;

Requesting id 18112010 asp 02 herb – efloraofindia | Google Groups
Fw: Re: [indiantreepix:10823] A flowering plant which attract many wasp species – indiantreepix | Google Groups
Justicia- – efloraofindia | Google Groups
Plant from Chhattisgarh 13 – indiantreepix | Google Groups
A flowering plant which attract many wasp species – indiantreepix | Google Groups


23032020EPT59 : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (3) – around450 kb each.
Presenting for ID
Location : Javadhu hills, Eastern Ghats
Elevation : 3600 feet
Habitat : Forest roadside
Taken on 12.02.2020

Justicia betonica!


Please identify the weed plant,
Location:  near Reserve Forest, Chathamattom, Ernakulam District, Kerala PIN:686671
Date:.               04.03.2021, 08.30am, 04.45pm
Altitude:           1700fsl
Habitat:            wild moisture
Plant habit:      erect/creeping weak stem annual
Height:             01.5 feet
Leaves:            opposite oval oblong apex
Flower:             diameter: 06mm, white non fragrant

Justicia sp.

Please find more images.
4 images.

I think close to images and details at Justicia betonica 

I am happy to share images of Justicia betonica from another location.
Altitude: 1800fsl
Location: Velliyamattom, Idukki Dt., Kerala, PIN: 685591
Date: 07.12.2020, 05.20pm
6 images.

the estuary of Kallada river, Kollam district Kerala- Oct.’08?; Lalbagh on14th Dec.’08; id this plant – indiantreepix | Google Groups Wild Flower for ID-250809-RK-1 – indiantreepix | Google Groups


Justicia betonica ??
Justicia trinervia 

… images in FOI are of Justicia betonica as per images and details herein.
Looks different from images and details at Justicia trinervia
Pl. correct. 


Justicia Species for ID : Nasik : 11DEC21 : AK – 12: 4 images.
Wild plants by the roadside.
Seems to be Justicia Species.

Justicia betonica L.! High resolution images would hep better !

I can post high resolution images if required.

Please cross verify the ID if correct !


Nepali name(s) of Nicoteba betonica (L.) Lindau:
Please help me with Nepali name(s) of Nicoteba betonica (L.) Lindau (syn. Justicia betonica L.) … not sure whether the species is distributed / cultivated in Nepal.

Sorry …, it is not found in Nepal!


Names of Plants in India :: Nicoteba betonica (L.) Lindau: 1 image.

Both Malayalam and English spellings are correct

Kannada names and their transliteration are correct.

¿ nee-KOH-tay-bah ? — anagram of the epithet betonica; could not find reasoning
bet-OH-nee-kuh — variant of vettonica, a Spanish native plant … Dave’s Botanary
commonly known as: leafy bract justicia, paper plume, rose-spotted white-flowered Justice wort, squirrel’s tail, white shrimp plant • Bengali: পাটল বাসক patela basak • Gujarati: ગુલાબી અરડુસી gulabi aradusi • Hindi: हाड़पात hadpat, मोकंदर mokander, प्रमेहःहराती pramehaharati • Kannada: ಕಾಡು ಕನಕಾಂಬರ kaadu kanakaambara, ಸಣ್ಣ ಅಡುಸೋಗೆ sanna adusoge • Konkani: धवो पोक्षो dhavo pokso • Malayalam: വെള്ളക്കുറിഞ്ഞി vellakurunji • Marathi: गुलाबी अडुलसा gulabi adulasa • Odia: ମାଟି ଶାଗ mati saga • Rajasthani: गुलाबी अडूसा gulabi adusa • Sanskrit: श्वेत सहचरः sveta-sahacarah • Santali: ᱛᱟᱭᱟᱨ tayar • Tamil: வேலிமூங்கில் veli-munkil • Telugu: తెల్ల రంతు tellarantu
botanical names** Nicoteba betonica (L.) Lindau … homotypic synonymsAdhatoda betonica (L.) Nees • Ecbolium betonica (L.) Kuntze • Justicia betonica L. … heterotypic synonymsAdhatoda trinervia (Vahl) Nees • Gendarussa betonica Nees ex Steud., not validly publ. • Gendarussa trinervia Nees ex Steud. • Justicia trinervia Vahl • Nicoteba trinervia (Vahl) Lindau … and many more at POWO

** NOTE: At this time of writing, almost all of the websites or portals, are yet to revise the name Justicia betonica L. to Nicoteba betonica (L.) Lindau. References listed below in the bibliography section are either for the synonym Justicia betonica L. or for Nicoteba trinervia (Vahl) Lindau, unless otherwise stated.

Bibliography / etymology

Links listed as references in the notes below may not remain valid permanently. Portals / websites have a tendency to re-organize / revise their content, leading to change in URLs of pages in their site. Some sites may even close down at their own will.

~~~~~ ENGLISH ~~~~~
leafy bract justicia, paper plume
rose-spotted white-flowered Justice wort
squirrel’s tail
white shrimp plant
~~~~~ BENGALI ~~~~~
পাটল বাসক patela basak
  • name coined, for want of name; পাটল patela = pink, for the pink variegated white flowers; বাসক basak = the popular medicinal plant Justicia adhatoda L.
~~~~~ GUJARATI ~~~~~
ગુલાબી અરડુસી gulabi aradusi
~~~~~ HINDI ~~~~~
हाड़पात hadpat – name prevalent in Bihar
मोकंदर mokander, प्रमेहःहराती pramehaharati – names prevalent in Madhya Pradesh
~~~~~ KANNADA ~~~~~
ಕಾಡು ಕನಕಾಂಬರ kaadu kanakaambara
ಸಣ್ಣ ಅಡುಸೋಗೆ sanna adusoge
~~~~~ KONKANI ~~~~~
धवो पोक्षो dhavo pokso
~~~~~ MALAYALAM ~~~~~
വെള്ളക്കുറിഞ്ഞി vellakurunji
~~~~~ MARATHI ~~~~~
गुलाबी अडुलसा gulabi adulasa
  • name coined, for want of name, by Shrikant Ingalhalikar, the author of Flowers of Sahyadri, the first among the three field guides to identify plants of northern Western Ghats of India, based on flowers
~~~~~ ODIA ~~~~~
ମାଟି ଶାଗ mati saga
~~~~~ RAJASTHANI ~~~~~
गुलाबी अडूसा gulabi adusa
  • name coined, for want of name, on lines of the Marathi name; गुलाबी gulabi = pink, for the pink variegated white flowers; अडूसा adusa = the popular medicinal plant Justicia adhatoda L.
  • Rajasthan Government – Forest Department
~~~~~ SANSKRIT ~~~~~
श्वेत सहचरः sveta-sahacarah
~~~~~ SANTALI ~~~~~
ᱛᱟᱭᱟᱨ tayar
~~~~~ TAMIL ~~~~~
வேலிமூங்கில் veli-munkil
~~~~~ TELUGU ~~~~~
తెల్ల రంతు tella rantu
~~~~~ DISTRIBUTION in States and Union Territories of India ~~~~~
India (throughout, often cultivated)
~~~~~ x ~~~~~

Santali name(s) of Nicoteba betonica (L.) Lindau:

Please help me with the Santali name ᱛᱟᱭᱟᱨ of Nicoteba betonica (L.) Lindau, transcribed in English.
Please check whether more names are listed on the Wikipedia page.

I got the English transcribed word for ᱛᱟᱭᱟᱨ as tayar in A Santali-English dictionary by A. Campbell, of the Santal mission. Could not get it earlier because the binomial listed in the dictionary has a typo.
Thank you always for your help.