Mittwoch, 28. Dezember 2011

Plant of the Day (December 28th, 2011) - Eupatorium cannabinum L.

Today's “Plant of the Day” is Eupatorium cannabinum L from the Asteraceae family. In German, this plant is known as “Gemeiner Wasserdost” or sometimes “Kunigundenkraut”, while the English name is “hemp agrimony”. Despite the suffix “cannabinum”, this species is not related to Cannabis, which belongs to the Cannabaceae.

E. cannabinum - habitus

It's an upright growing herb, which can reach heights between 50 and 150 centimetres (or 19.5 to 59 inches). The alternate leaves are digitate (hand-shaped) with 3 to 5 (sometimes 7) lobes. In some rare cases, the leaves are also simple.

E. cannabinum - inflorescence

As with most Asteraceae, the inflorescences of E. cannabinum are heads (capitulum) and consists of many small flowers. In turn, these heads are grouped into fake umbels. This plant belongs to the subfamily Asteroidae and has only radial flowers (unlike e. g. the daisy (Bellis perennis L.), which has radial flowers in the centre and ray flowers in the peripheries). Each flower has five pink petals (sometimes white).

E. cannabinum - habitus

This species is native to Europe, but can also be found as neophyte in Australia and North America. It grows on wet places like meadows, floodplains but also in parks and cities on wet embankments. E. cannabinum is also a indicator for a high nitrogen content.

In past, E. cannabinum was used as medicinal plant to cure wounds or for liver and kidneys complaints. However, today it's known, that E. cannabinum contains carcinogenic ingredients.

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