from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A genus of gamopetalous plants of the order Acanthaceæ, tribe Justicieæ, and subtribe Eujusticieæ. It is characterized by its two anthers, each having two blunt cells without spurs, one cell placed higher than the other; and by the slenderly cylindrical elongated corolla-tube, with a linear and recurved upper lip, the lower broad, flat, and spreading. The 4 species are natives of tropical and southern Africa, India, and the Moluccas. They are next allied to Dianthera, the water-willow of the United States, but are readily distinguished by their inflorescence and shrubby habit. They bear entire leaves, and small axillary clusters of flowers which often form a large loose-branched panicle or dense terminal thyrsus of crowded cymes. R. communis is a slender shrub, whose root and leaves are used in India and China as an application for ringworm and other cutaneous diseases, whence called ringworm-root.


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