BELAMCANDA CHINENSIS (Linn.) DC.
Ixia chinensis Linn.
Pardanthus chinensis Ker
Local and common names: Abanico (Sp.); abaniko (Tag.); black berry-lily (Engl.); palma (Sp., Tag.).
Abaniko is planted for ornamental purposes but is nowhere naturalized. It is a native of southeastern Asia, and is now cultivated in most warm countries.
The rootstock is creeping. The stem is erect, leafy, tufted, 0.5 to 1.5 meters high. The leaves are 2-ranked, strongly imbricated, crowded, sword-shaped, 40 to 60 centimeters long, 2.5 to 4 centimeters wide; those of the stem equitant. The inflorescence is dichotomously branched, terminal and erect. The spathes are ovate-lanceolate, and about 1 centimeter long. The flowers are pedicelled, opening 1 or 2 at a time, 4 to 6 centimeters across. The perianth-tube is very short, and the segments narrowly elliptic, spreading, yellowish outside, and inside reddish-yellow with reddish spots. The capsules are obovoid, membraneous, and loculicidal. The seeds are nearly spherical in shape, with lax and shining tests.
According to Hooper this is an important drug in China. The rhizome is sold in markets in hard, longitudinal slices, which are dark brown outside with transverse markings, and a few rootlets, and light yellowish-brown within. It is bitter and acrid. It is recommended as expectorant, deobstruant, and carminative. It is given in pulmonary and liver complaints and for purifying the blood. In Malaya it is a remedy for gonorrhoea. Hooper quotes Rheede, who says that it is an alexipharmic in Malabar. Kirtikar and Basu cite Loureiro, who states that the roots are used medicinally in Cochin China, and that they have aperient and resolvent properties.