Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Genus: Parthenium
Botanical name: Parthenium hysterophorus
Sanskrit: Vishalata, Parthenia, Svasini
Hindi: Gajar ghas, Chatak Chandani
English: Carrot Grass, Congress grass, Wild carrot weed
Malayalam: Congress pull
Carrot Grass is native to the subtropics of North and South America. It is a fast-maturing annual (or, under certain conditions, a short-lived perennial) with a deep tap root and an erect stem that becomes woody with age. It may eventually reach a height of 2 m. Its leaves are pale green, branched and covered with soft fine hairs. The small white flowers (4 mm across) have five distinct corners and grow on the stem tips. Each flower produces 4-5 black wedgeshaped seeds that are 2 mm long with thin white scales. It is considered a highly invasive weed. Its large and persistent soil seedbank, fast germination rate and ability to undergo dormancy make it well adapted to semi-arid environments. It also releases chemicals that inhibit the germination and growth of pasture grasses and other plants.
Plant has no known medicinal properties; instead it is a poisonous plant, causing allergic asthma, hay fever and dermatitis. It is also toxic for cattle's. Due to its rapid invasive nature, it suppresses the growth of other plants; is a potent threat for native medicinal plants. The major component of these toxins being parthenin and other phenolic acids such as caffeic acid, vanillic acid, anisic acid, chlorogenic acid, parahydroxy benzoic acid and p-anisic acid are lethal to humans and animals.
Parthenium hysterophorus
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