Arka or aak is taxonomically known as Calotropis procera belonging to the family Its names in different languages are –arka, alarka, mandaraand suryapattain Sanskrit; madar, and ak in Hindi; milk weed or swallow-wort in English. It has two varieties C. procera and C. gigantea, both of which are held to be sacred to Shiva. The leaves and flowers are considered to be sacred. It is a waste land plant. The milky, sour and pungent latex present in all parts of the plant is the uniqueness of this shrub. Therefore, commonly known as rubber bush or milk weed. It has pretty purple coloured, and slightly scented flower, having a sweet and agreeable odour. The coarse shrub exhibits good antibacterial, anticancerous, ascaricidal, antimicrobial, anthelminthic, antioxidant and analgesic effect. Calotropis species are considered common weed with multipurpose utilization. The stems yield a fibre, known as madar, useful for making ropes, bags, nets and paper. This plant also have ecological importance by improving soil fertility, soil water holding capacity and is a useful bio-indicator to monitor pollution in varying concentrations of Boron, Manganese, Selenium, Chromium and Zinc.
Religious association: Akonda, white flower with bluish tinge matched the bluish hue of Shiva’s throat.
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