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It is a small biennial plant with thick fusiform tuberous roots and striking funnel-shaped violet-colored flowers. Its fruit is a 2 cm long sessile capsule containing about 20 seeds. Some of the names of the plant such as popping pod, duppy gun and cracker plant come from the fact that children like to play with the dry pods that pop when rubbed with spit or water. Ruellia tuberosa may be found in moist and shady environments. It grows, however, preferably in grasslands and roadsides —often as a weed in cultivated fields, and also in xerophile and ruderal habitats. In folk medicine and Ayurvedic medicine it has been used as a diuretic, anti-diabetic, antipyretic, analgesic, antihypertensive, gastroprotective, and to treat gonorrhea. It is also used as a natural dye for textiles.