Nelsonia canescens (Lam.) Spreng.

Etymology Genus Likely after the name Nelson
Species Covered with off-white hairs
Family Acanthaceae
Synonyms Justicia brunelloides Lam., Justicia canescens Lam.
Common Names Blue Pussyleaf, Bada Rasna
Status Exotic: Naturalised
Form Herb
Native Distribution Africa


The erect inflorescence of Nelsonia canescens makes this wild flower easily noticeable. The leaves have uneven margins and are oppositely arranged. The entire plant is covered with off-white hairs.

Interesting Facts:

Many of the Blue Pussyleaf's flowers that I found online are lavender coloured, whereas those found here are white with a tint of pink around the margins. Its roots is known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (Behzad, 2011). It was also found to be an effective cover-crop in banana planations for the purpose of reducing weeds and pests (Fongod et al., 2010).

The Blue Pussyleaf at a manicured grass verge.

Leaves and stem.

The erect inflorescence stalks.

Flowers. Notice the hairs that covered the stalk.


Behzad M. (2011) Pharmacological evaluation of Nelsonia canescens (Lam.) Spreng root for anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. M.Sc. Dissertation, PGT-SFC-CELL, I.P.G.T & R.A, G.A.U., Jamnagar, Gujarat, India.
Fongod AG, Focho DA, Mih AM, Fonge BA & Lang PS. (2010) Weed management in banana production: The use of Nelsonia canescens (Lam.) Spreng as a non-leguminous cover crop. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 4: 167-173.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2014-03-28 / Modified: 2017-12-25