Katuwelbatu is a long history as a medicinal plant and is one of the most widely used and widely imported drugs in Sri Lanka today.
A shrub that grows on the ground, usually looking like a banyan tree. There are sharp thorns in almost every part of the leaves and plants that are deeply divided. The leaves are straight and dark yellow, with longitudinal bristles, along the centre of the leaf, and on the axils.
The yellowish stamens are prominent in the middle of the flower, which is covered with purple petals. Some of the flowers are in clusters. Diameter about 2cm domes of green leaves turns yellow when ripe. There are many seeds in it. Flowering occurs throughout the year.
Thrives in the low country dry zone of Sri Lanka. It thrives, especially in dry, barren wastelands.
It can be easily grown by seeds. This can be done by nursery seeding or spraying directly on the field. Germination can be accelerated by first washing the seeds until they are soft and diluted in water for about 12 hours. Do not spray the field during heavy rains as it takes more than 10 days to germinate. This is best done when the soil is quite dry and the soil is slightly dry. Fill two ponds of compost manure with soil and water two weeks old plants carefully. Watering is essential at first. Reduce water application gradually after two weeks. When the water is too high the plants may rot and die.
When the shrubs are spreading, ripening and turning yellow, take out the entire plant or separate the roots and dry them in the air. Drying of vines is the most effective method. A mature bush can yield about 250g of dry thorns. A short-term crop, Katuwelbatu is an economically viable herb as it grows in unsuitable, harsh environments and can produce a large income in just three months from an acre.