(Canthium parviflorum)

A tree of nagaveda


Family: Rubiaceae

Synonym: Plectronia parviflora

Other names: Balasu

Nagaveda is an Indian plant bearing edible fruits.  The leaves of this plant are also eaten as a leafy vegetable commonly called SAAG in India.  It is found throughout the Deccan Peninsula from Maharashtra southwards.  It is also found in the states of Bihar and Orissa.  Nasgveda is known more for its medicinal uses in Ayurveda.

A fruiting branch of nagaveda


A rigid thorny shrub with stiuff and spreading branches; spines numerous, axillary or supra-axillary, straight, stout and sharp, 2.5-5 cm long; bark grey, deeply cleft, with vertical fissures

             Leaves glabrous, eliptic, obovate or orbicular, 1.5-5 cm long; stipules small with long cuspidate points.

Nagaveda leaves and flowers

Flowers 4-merous, very small, yellowish, in many-flowered peduncled cymes; calyx-teeth minute; corolla-tube broad bell-shaped 2-3 mm in, long, a little longer than lobes; stigma globose, tuberculate. long, a little longer than lobes.  

Fruit 1.2 cm in diam, yellow, edible.

Nagaveda fruits

Seeds two, hard.


The fruits are edible and eaten by local people.  These are, however, not offered for sale.

            The leaves are also eaten as a leafy vegetable.

            According to Ayurveda, the plant is antispasmodic.  The roots are enthelmintic.  The leaves constitute the ayurvedic drug “Karee” which is astringent and effective in cough and indigestion.

            The stem yields a fibre.  The wood is hard and suitable for turning.  It is therefore used for making toys.


The plant makes a good hedge.  It can be propagated by seed.  The offshoots arising from old plants can also be used for multiplication of this plant.

            Nagveda is, however, a slow growing plant and therefore requires patience on the part of grower.