Scientific name: Lawsonia inermis L.
English names: Henna, Indian Privet, Mignonette Tree
Local names: Mendi, Mehedi, Sudi.
Taxonomic Position According to Cronquist (1981)
Botanical Description of Mehedi
Habit:A leaf-sheathing shrub, sometimes growing out into a small tree, bark fairly smooth, rusty-brown, lateral branches 4-gonous, often ending in a spinous point.
Leaves:Leaves opposite, 1.0-4.4 x 0.5-1.8 cm, elliptic, ovate or obovate, apex acute or obtuse, base tapering, glabrous, petioles very short.
Inflorescence:Inflorescence a terminal panicle, up to 25 cm long.
Flowers:Flowers fragrant, pedicellate,pedicels 2.0-3.5 mm Jong, slender- Calyx tube campanulas, 3-5 mm long, sepals4, spreading, 2.5-3.0 mm long, ovate, acute. Petals 4, usually greenish-yellow or white.3-4 mm long, broad as long, suborbicular or subreniform with incurved much-curled borders.
Androecium:Stamens 8, much longer than the petals, filaments inserted at the top of hypantbium, anthers oblong.
Gynoecium:Ovary 4-celled, ovules many in each ceil, placental]onaxiie, styles thick, stigmas capitate.
Fruits:Fruit a capsule, 4-8 mm indiameter, green and shining at first, but soon turning reddish, ultimately becoming hard, dry and brown, dehiscing irregularly, depressed-globose, slightly veined outside, supported by the persistent calyx and tipped with style.
Seeds:Seeds angular, 2.5 mm long, smooth.
Economic Importance: Henna is widely cultivated as an ornamental or as a hedge plant, appreciated for the pleasant fragrance of its flowers. Leaves are used to colour the fingernails, to decorate the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, and to dye hairs. It is also used to dye silt wool and cotton. A perfume is produced from the flowers. Medicinally, the bark is prescribed for treatment of jaundice and enlargement of spleens.
Leaves are applied externally to relieve headache. The oil and essence are rubbed over the body to keep the body cool.