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a genus of plants of the family Lythraceae, comprising one species—henna (Lawsonia inermis). It is a shrub or small tree with opposite leaves, which are elliptic or broadlanceolate. The flowers, which are numerous, small, white or pink, and fragrant, are in terminal panicles. Henna grows wild in the tropics from North Africa and East Africa to India. In warm countries it is cultivated as an ornamental, medicinal, and dye plant. The cosmetic dye henna is obtained from the leaves. The flowers yield an essential oil that is used in the perfume industry.