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Acanthus ilicifolius - Harikasa

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Harikasa, Acanthus ilicifolius

Harikasa, is an erect or reclining shrub growing from 50 - 200cm tall with scarcely branched stems that often produce adventitious aerial roots. The leaves have spiny edges when the plants are growing in an open position, but can be totally spineless when growing in the shade. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and material for making soap.


Arthritis, Hepatitis, Oedema, Bladder Stones, Heart Diseases [1]

Parts Used

Whole plant

Chemical Composition

The air-dried plant contains an alkaloid, acanthicifoline, and a flavone. [2]

Common names

Language Common name
Kannada holechulli, mullu chulli, tudechulli
Hindi harcuch-kanta, hargoza
Malayalam painaschulli, payinnachulli
Tamil arrumulli, kaludaimulli, uppukkarinirumulli, paina-schulli
Telugu alasyakampa, thude chulli
Marathi NA
Gujarathi NA
Punjabi NA
Kashmiri NA
Sanskrit harikasa, harikusa
English Sea Holly



Reference: Dravya - Substance, Rasa - Taste, Guna - Qualities, Veerya - Potency, Vipaka - Post-digesion effect, Karma - Pharmacological activity, Prabhava - Therepeutics.












Kind Shape Feature
Simple Opposite nodes with a pair of spines at the base of the petiole; stilt-roots arising from lower portion of stem. Leaves opposite-decussate, simple, 7-15 x 6-9 cm, variously shaped, elliptic, ovate-oblong, or ovate- lanceolate, narrowed at base, spinous at apex, glabrous, coriaceous, sinuately lobed and spinulose along margins, rarely entire; midrib prominent, lateral veins 4-12 pairs, estipulate; petiole usually 0.5-1 cm and rarely up to 2.5 cm long, terete.



Type Size Color and composition Stamen More information
Bisexual Terminal or pseudo-axillary spikes Bluish-violet 4 Flowers sessile, 3.5-x 3.5 cm across; bract 0.6-0.8 x 0.5 cm, ovate, acute, margin ciliate; bracteoles 2, conspicuous, partly covered by the bract, lanceolate, persistent. Calyx green, 4-partite, lobes glabrous, 12-15 x 1 mm, shortly connate in two opposite pairs, the outer pair larger. Corolla bluish-violet, 3 cm long with a short tube closed by basal hairs; upper lip obsolete, lower lip broadly 3-lobed to entire, recurved by the middle portion. Stamens 4, attached to the throat of corolla tube, didynamous; filaments 13-16 mm long, stout, curved, more or less flat; anthers aggregated around the style, c. 1.2 cm long, connectives thickly hairy, medifixed, bilobed, one lobe sterile, dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary 2-loculed; ovules 2 in each locule on axile placenta; style c. 2.7 cm long, slender, terete; stigma bifid.


Type Size Mass Appearance Seeds More information
A capsule 3-3.5 x 1.3-1.6 cm ellipsoid or ovoid-oblong, glabrous, 3-3.5 x 1.3-1.6 cm, apiculate seeds 4, compressed, orbicular, 1.3-1.5 x 1- 1.2 cm, supported on short-hooked retinacula. {{{6}}}

Other features

List of Ayurvedic medicine in which the herb is used

Where to get the saplings

Mode of Propagation

Seeds, Cuttings.

How to plant/cultivate

Season to grow

Soil type


Commonly seen growing in areas

Tropical area, Coastal area

Photo Gallery


External Links