Characteristics of Henna Tree (Lawsonia inermis) in the Wild

Lawsonia inermis
Henna or Hina is a flowering plant and is the only species of the genus Lawsonia. These are used as henna dyes to dye skin, hair, nails, silk, wool, and leather.

Henna trees come from northern Africa, Asia, and northern Australia, in the semi-arid zone and tropical regions. The tree is found to grow at temperatures between 35 °C to 45 °C, and cannot grow at temperatures below 10 °C.

During the rainy season, henna tree growth is very fast, and when entering the dry season, growth slows. The leaves gradually turn yellow and fall in summer.

Apart from Henna or Hina, this tree is also referred to as the Mignonette tree and Egyptian privet.


Characteristics of Henna Leaf

Lawsonia inermis Leaf
Source : Hayati Zainal Abidin

The leaves grow facing each other on the stem, type glabrous, sub-sessile, elliptical, lancet, with an average length of 2-5 cm and a width of 0.5-2 cm.


Characteristics of Henna Flower

Lawsonia inermis Flower
Source : UNIQUE

The flowers have four sepals and a 2 mm petal tube, with a 3 mm lobe that spreads. The petals are ovoid, white, or red, stamens are found in pairs at the edge of the petal tube.


Characteristics of Henna Fruit

Lawsonia inermis Fruit
Source : Khare

The henna tree fruit is in the form of a small brownish capsule, 4-8 mm in diameter with 32-49 seeds in each fruit. The seeds contain oil (10.5%).


Characteristics of Henna Tree

Lawsonia inermis Tree
Source :

The tree is a bush or small tree, and the maximum height is up to 5-6 meters. The trunk is erect and its branches are pointed.


Henna trees are widely planted as ornamental plants because they bloom throughout the year. In Indonesia, the henna tree is known as the “Nail Girlfriend” which is used to dye nails traditionally, its use by pounding leaves with lime or gambier.

The leaves can be used to dye hair by mashing it with water.

The henna leaf contains lawson dyes which can be extracted as orange-yellow crystals, used to dye wool and silk.

The leaves contain tannins (± 4.5%), are used to stop diarrhea and the leaf powder is used to treat wounds.

The flowers contain essential oils that smell like trimethyl amine and are used in the cosmetics industry.

The wood is hard and is often used to make toothpicks and small-sized items because the trees that grow are not so big.


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