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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Euryale ferox
Illustration of Euryale ferox from Curtis's Botanical Magazine (1812).
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Nymphaeales
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Euryale
Salisb., 1805
Species: E. ferox
Binomial name
Euryale ferox
Salisb., 1805
Leaves Euryale ferox
A pond of cultivated Euryale in northern India

Euryale ferox (also known as fox nut, foxnut, makhana, or gorgon plant) is the only species in the genus Euryale. It is a flowering plant classified in the water lily family, Nymphaeaceae, although it is occasionally regarded as a distinct family Euryalaceae. Unlike other water lilies, the pollen grains of Euryale have three nuclei.[1]



Euryale is an annual plant native to eastern Asia, and is found from India to Korea and Japan, as well as parts of eastern Russia.[2] It grows in water, producing bright purple flowers. The leaves are large and round, often more than a meter (3 feet) across, with a leaf stalk attached in the center of the lower surface. The underside of the leaf is purplish, while the upper surface is green. The leaves have a quilted texture, although the stems, flowers, and leaves which float on the surface are covered in sharp prickles. Other leaves are submerged.


Food uses

The plant produces starchy white seeds, and the seeds are edible. The plant is cultivated for its seeds[2] in lowland ponds in India, China, and Japan. The Chinese have cultivated the plant for over 3000 years.[3] More than 96,000 hectares of Bihar, India, were set aside for cultivation of Euryale in 1990-1991.[4] The plant does best in locations with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Seeds are collected in the late summer and early autumn, and may be eaten raw or cooked.

In India, particularly in the northern and western parts of the country, Euryale ferox seeds are often roasted or fried, which causes them to pop like popcorn. These are then eaten, often with a sprinkling of oil and spices. In Mithila culture of Bihar, India, the makhana is an auspicious ingredient in offerings to the Lord during festivals and is used in cooking, specially to make a porridge/pudding called kheer of makhana or 'makhane ki kheer'.

Evidence from archaeobotany indicates that Euryale ferox was a frequently collected wild food source during the Neolithic period in the Yangtze region, with large numbers of finds coming from the sites of Kuahuqiao, Hemudu, and Tianluoshan [5]

Medicinal uses

In Chinese, the plant is called qiàn shí (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ).[2] Its edible seeds are used in traditional Chinese medicine, where they are often cooked in soups along with other ingredients, and believed to strengthen male potency and retard aging.[2]


The name Euryale comes from the mythical Greek Gorgon by the same name. The Soviet Union issued a postage stamp featuring this species.


  1. ^ Cronquist, Arthur (1981). An Integrated System of Classification of Flowering Plants. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 111. ISBN 0-231-03880-1.  
  2. ^ a b c Flora of China, "Euryale ferox"
  3. ^ Mabberley, D. J. (1987). The Plant-book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-34060-8.  
  4. ^ "Euryale ferox - Gorgon Plant". International Water Gardener. Retrieved 2008-02-26.  
  5. ^ Fuller, D. Q. et al. (2009). "The Domestication Process and Domestication Rate in Rice: Spikelet bases from the Lower Yangtze, Science vol. 323: 1607-1610 [1]".  

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Euryale ferox


Classification System: APWebsite
Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Unassigned Angiospermae
Ordo: Nymphaeales
Familia: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Euryale
Species: Euryale ferox


Euryale ferox Salisb. ex K.D. Koenig & Sims, Ann. Bot. (König & Sims) 2: 74. 1805.


  • Anneslea spinosa Andr., Bot. Rep. x. t. 618.
  • Euryale indica Planchon, Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot. sér. 3, 19: 29. 1853.


  • Missouri Botanical Garden. 5 Feb 2009 [1].

Vernacular names

Svenska: Rävnäckros

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