Calotropis gigantea – Crown Flower

Other notes

Natural History: This is a widely distributed species from tropical Africa through India to SE Asia. It is a large shrub with large, thick leaves. The thick milky sap from broken-off leaves and stems is conspicious. The milky sap contains cardiac glycosides and other cardenolides that impacts heart function by inhibiting the cellular sodium-potassium ATPase pump, rendering the plant unpalatable to a wide range of herbivores.
It is common by the roadsides and in dry deciduous forests.
Flowers are either white or lavender in colour, with five pointed petals.



Nitin, R., V. C. Balakrishnan, P. V. Churi, S. Kalesh, S. Prakash, and K. Kunte. 2018. Larval host plants of the butterflies of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 10:11495–11550. DOI:

HOSTS (2023) - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Accessed on 24 Dec 2022. URL:

WFO (2023): World Flora Online. Accessed on 24 Dec 2022. URL:

Flowers of India (2023). Accessed on 24 Dec 2022. URL:

Page citation

Kawthankar, N. and K. Kunte. 2024. Calotropis gigantea (L.) Dryand. – Crown Flower. In Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, and P. Roy (Chief Editors). Butterflies of India, v. 4.12. Published by the Indian Foundation for Butterflies. URL:, accessed 2024/07/21.