Also Known As
Paper Plume
Squirrel Tail
Squirrel’s Tail
Three Nerved Squirrel Tail [2]
Had Paata [In Bihar]
Madd Toppu
हाड़पात Hadpat
मोकंदर Mokander
प्रमेहःहराती Pramehaharati
ಆತಿ ? ಸೊಪ್ಪು Aati Soppu
Marathi: गुलाबी अडुलसा gulabi adulasa;
श्वेत सहचरः Sveta-Sahacarah
வேலிமூங்கில் Veli-Munkil
Tellarantu [4] 
Goppe Dhaliyaa
—Marathi Sut [2] 
लहान् अडुलसा Lahan Adulsa [2] 
Ekor Tupai 
Tapak Murai 

Order:   Lamiales
Family:   Acanthaceae
Genus:    Justicia
Species: betonica

Florida s

Animal Interaction
Hummingbird Butterfly
Other Uses
The White Shrimp Plant is most often grown as a flowering ornamental shrub in warmer parts of Florida. Its gorgeous variegated bracts yield light purple flowers, making them a stand out beauty in the garden. Few people know that this is Had Paata of Indian traditional medicine. The roots, leaves, and flowers all have traditional medicinal uses. In India, a poultice of the crushed fresh leaves is applied to help with abscesses and in Sri Lanka a leaf poultice is applied to treat boils. The inflorescences are used as a hair tonic. Both hummingbirds and butterflies like to nectar at the flowers. 

MEDICINAL USES: Root, leaves, and flowers.  “Used in the treatment of various gastrointestinal complaints.” [6]  Analgesic, anti-Inflammatory, antimalarial, febrifuge.  “Constipation, malaria, orchitis [inflammation of one or both of the testicles], pain, snake bite, stomach ache, swelling, vomiting.” [3]  “The Indians make use of the plant in the treatment of diarrhea and in Kenya they use the leaves and flower ash for it.” [8/12]  globinmed.com lists it as having no documented toxicity. "The Sukuma of Tanganyika, prepare an ointment from the plant-ash in butter to treat scaly skin." [15] "An infusion is prepared from the leaves and offered as a drink in Kenya for snake-bite." [15]
- MEDICINAL INFLORESCENCES: —"To treat vomiting and constipation the Indians used the inflorescence given orally." [12]
- MEDICINAL LEAVES: "A poultice made from the leaves is used to treat to boils in Ceylon, and to swellings in Malaya. Leaves are also prepared and mixed in Ceylon for diarrhea." [15] 
- EXTERNAL MEDICINAL USES: “The Indian and Sri Lankan community apply a poultice made from crushed leaves of the plant over abscesses to provide relief of pain and swelling.”  [8/9] The [Asian] Indians use the inflorescence as a hair wash. [10]
- VETERINARY USES: "Leaves are boiled to a soup by cattle-folk in Uganda to cows-in-milk to drink as galactagogue (agent that promotes milk flow)." [15]
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS: —Beta Sitosterol, Lupeol. [3]
WILDLIFE: The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. 
CUT FLOWER: Used in arrangements as a cut flower. 

NATIVE TO: India. Tropical Asia.
HABITAT: “Moist deciduous forests and wastelands.” [1]
DESCRIPTION: A small evergreen shrub or bush.
- HEIGHT: 2-6' tall.
- STEMS: Procumbent, with swollen nodes.
- LEAVES: Opposite, small.
- INFLORESCENCE: Inflorescences consist of green-striped cream to pale green (sometimes with a tinge of pink) bracts, upright, compact, with flowers aging from white to violet; corolla two-lipped, mauve, with a white spot on the lower lip. [15]
- FRUIT: Fruits are 2 lobed capsules. [15]
ETYMOLOGY: Betonica means betony like. "The genus epithet 'Justicia' was named after James Justice, a horticulturalist from Scotland (1730-1763)." [15]
- COLD HARDINESS: USDA zones 9-11, often killed to the ground in zone 8, but should resprout from the roots.
- LIGHT:  Sun to part sun.
- WATER: Moderate needs. [15] 

More Details

Hardiness Zone
9a to 11b
Part Sun Full Sun

Sources for acquiring

Crowley Nursery in Sarasota sells it [call ahead to make sure that they have some in stock] 


[4] efloraofindia 
[10] Ethno-Medico-Botanical Studies from Rayalasseema Region of Southern Eastern Ghats, Andra Pradesh, India, Ethnobotanical Leaflets, 2006 
[7] Gerald Carr [photo: dark-lipped flowers] 
[6] globinmed.com 
[9] Handbook of Tropical Plants, New Delhi, 1993 
[12] Healing Treatments in Aldai and Kaptumo Divisions in nandi District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya, African Journal of Traditional, Complimentary, and Alternative Medicines, 2008 
[3] herbpathy.com 
[2] India Biodiversity Portal 
[1] keralplants.in 
[8] Khare Indian Medicinal Plants, 2007 
[11] Luo Biological Dictionary, 1998 
[5] onlineplantguide.com 
[14] rayon-de-serre.fr [photo: flower close-up] 
[13] Rob Nelson [photo: medium close up of flower] 
[14] wildlifeofhawaii [photo: upright inflorescence] 
[15] Flora Fauna Web [National Parks Board, Singapore] 
Last Updated: October 28, 2017