Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Amaranthus tricolor L.

English Name : Summer Poinsettia, Joseph's Coat, Tampala, Chinese Spinach

Family : Amaranthaceae

Origin : Tropical Asia

Ascending or erect annual herb up to 125 cm tall, with stout stem, usually much branched; stem and branches angular, glabrous or in the upper part with crisped hairs. Leaves arranged spirally, simple, without stipules; petiole up to 8 cm long; lamina broadly ovate, rhomboid-ovate or broadly elliptical to lanceolate-oblong, very variable in size, shortly cuneate to attenuate at base, emarginate to obtuse or acute at apex, glabrous or thinly pilose on lower surface of primary venation, green to reddish. Inflorescence an axillary, globose cluster up to 2.5 cm in diameter, the upper clusters sometimes forming a terminal spike, with male and female flowers intermixed; bracts broadly ovate, about as long as tepals, awned. Flowers unisexual, subsessile, with 3 tepals up to 5 mm long, having a long awn; male flowers with 3 stamens; female flowers with superior, 1-celled ovary crowned by 3 stigmas. Fruit an ovoid-urceolate capsule up to 3 mm long, with a short beak below the stigmas, circumscissile, obscurely wrinkled, 1-seeded. Seed 1รข€“1.5 mm long, shining black or brown, faintly reticulate.

Found occasionally on cultivated land, flood plains, roadsides and wasteland.

Parts Used : Whole plant and leaves

Herb Effects
Diuretic (leaves); astringent (whole plant)

Medicinal Use
The leaves are used externally to treat inflammations and internally against edema. A decoction of the root is used with Cucurbita moschata to control haemorrhage following abortion. A decoction of very old plants is taken internally to improve vision and strengthen the liver.


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