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Henna or Hina (Lawsonia inermis, syn. L. alba) is a flowering plant, the sole species in the genus Lawsonia in the family Lythraceae. The word "henna" (حــنــا) comes from the Arabic name for the plant, pronounced /ħinnaːʔ/ or colloquially /ħinna/.. It is also an islamic name given to girls which means blessed.
It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, and northern Australasia in semi-arid zones. Henna is a tall shrub or small tree, 2–6 m high. It is glabrous, multibranched with spine tipped branchlets. Leaves are opposite, entire, glabrous, sub-sessile, elliptical, and broadly lanceolate (1.5–5.0 cm x 0.5–2 cm), acuminate, having depressed veins on the dorsal surface. During the onset of precipitation intervals, the plant grows rapidly; putting out new shoots, then growth slows. The leaves gradually yellow and fall during prolonged dry or cool intervals. Henna flowers have four sepals and a 2 mm calyx tube with 3 mm spread lobes. Petals are obvate, white or red stamens inserted in pairs on the rim of the calyx tube. Ovary is four celled, style up to 5 mm long and erect. Fruits are small, brownish capsules, 4–8 mm in diameter, with 32–49 seeds per fruit, and open irregularly into four splits. Lawsone content in leaves is negatively associated with the number of seeds in the fruits.
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