Global distribution of this species is paleotropical . Within India, it is found in the tropical and subtropical regions and wild in Peninsular India and West Bengal.
Chitrak is a large perennial sub-scandent shrub cultivated in gardens throughout. It grows up to the height of 3 to 6 feet. Roots 30 cm or more in length, 6 mm or more in diameter as also as short stout pieces, including root stocks reddish to deep brown, scars of rootlets present, bark thin and brown, internal structure striated, odour, disagreeable, taste, acrid.