(Last Updated on : 05/02/2016)
Khetki was introduced to India as an ornamental plant in the earlier period. These are naturalized in the sub-Himalayan
hills, outer Himalayas and throughout most of peninsular India. However, the origin of this plant is seated in tropical America and Mexico. This species is one of the widest ranging of the Khetki with a natural distribution and it occurs in tropical savannah
, thorn forest and drought deciduous tropical forests from sea level to about 5,000 feet in elevation. This form or one quite similar was reported to have arisen in the botanical garden of the College of Science at Pune
Different Names of Khetki
The botanical name of the Khetki plant is "Agave Angustifolia Haw"
. The common name of this plant varies according to the different regions of our country. In English
it is known as "Dwarf Aloe"
; in Hindi
it is famous as "Khetki"
; whereas in Marathi
it is known as "Chota Ghayal"
; and in Sanskrit
it is known as "Kantala"
. It has been widely distributed around the world, particularly in subtropical areas and is sometimes called the "Caribbean Agave"
Characteristic Features of Khetki
Khetki plants are short-stemmed perennial plant. The leaves of these plants are greyish-green in colour and dagger or sword-shaped. These are 40 to 60 cm long with flat, spines and slender-cusped prickles. The 2 foot long leaves are fairly stiff, narrow (2-4 inches) and concave towards the middle with a broad central band colored pale green and strong creamy white margins that often have a flush of pink. Flowers of Khetki plants are 4 to 5 cm long, greenish in colour with an unpleasant odour. The fruits of this plant are strongly stipulate and beaked with large seeds. When in flower, which does not occur until this plant is at least 10 years old and often much later, it sends up an 8 to 10 foot spike with a well-branched panicle bearing greenish-white flowers.
Medicinal Values of Khetki
These plants are important for its medicinal purposes. The roots are considered diuretic and diaphoretic. The fresh juice of the leaves is applied externally to relieve bruises.