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Asystasia gangetica

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Template:Italic title Template:Taxobox Asystasia gangetica is a species of plant in the Acanthaceae family. It is commonly known as the Chinese violet, coromandel<ref name=Hawaii>Plants of Hawaii: Asystasia gangetica: http://www.hear.org/starr/images/species/?q=asystasia+gangetica&o=plants, retrieved 28 July 2010</ref> or creeping foxglove.<ref name=SANBI>South African National Biodiversity Institute: Asystasia gangetica: http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/asystasiagan.htm, retrieved 28 July 2010</ref> In South Africa this plant may simply be called asystasia.<ref name=Pooley>Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to Wild Flowers; KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. ISBN 0-620-21500-3.</ref>

Contents

Description

This plant is a spreading herb or groundcover, reaching 600 mm in height<ref name=SANBI/><ref name=Pooley/> or up to 1 m if supported.<ref name=Australia>Weed Identification, Australia: http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&state=&s=&ibra=all&card=H34, retrieved 28 July 2010.</ref> The stems root easily at the nodes.<ref name=SANBI/> The leaves are simple<ref name=SANBI/> and opposite.<ref name=Australia/> The fruit is an explosive capsule which starts out green in colour, but dries to brown after opening.<ref name=Australia/>

Subspecies

  • A. g. gangetica, has larger (30–40 mm long) blue or mauve flowers.<ref name=Australia/>
  • A. g. micrantha (Nees) Ensermu, has smaller (up to 25 mm long.<ref name=Australia/>) white flowers with purple markings on the lower lip.<ref name=Pooley/>

Distribution

Widespread throughout the Old World Tropics, and introduced into tropical Americas<ref>Jstor Plant Science, Asystasia gangetica: http://plants.jstor.org/taxon/Asystasia.gangetica, retrieved 28 July 2010.</ref> and Hawaii, where it has become naturalized.<ref name=Hawaii/> Both subspecies of this plant have been introduced to Australia where A. g. micrantha is on the National Environmental Alert List and must be reported when found.<ref name=Australia/> The original range of the subspecies is unclear,<ref name=Australia/> but it is likely that A. g. gangetica was limited to Asia, and A. g. micrantha was limited to Africa.<ref name=SANBI/>

Reproduction

Ernest Akamine (1947)<ref name="Akamine 1947">Template:Cite journal</ref> found that there were no apparent dormancy mechanisms operating in the seeds, which germinated freely 135 days after being expelled from parent plants. Flower production can begin as early as 40 days after germination, with seed development beginning after 57 days, facilitating the production of viable seed in as little as 72 days.<ref name="Sahid, I. B. & Shukor, J. A. 1998">Template:Cite journal</ref> The seeds are then expelled explosively upon ripening via hooked retinacula (pictured).



Uses

In some parts of Africa, the leaves are eaten as a vegetable and used as an herbal remedy in traditional African medicine.<ref name="prota">Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.</ref> The leaves are used in many parts of Nigeria as a traditional African medicine for the management of asthma.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> It is also used as an ornamental plant.<ref name=SANBI/>

Ecological Significance

This is an important plant for honeybees, butterflies and other insects.<ref name=SANBI/><ref name=Pooley/> In southern Africa there are at least seven species of butterfly and moth that use A. g. micrantha as a larval foodplant; Junonia oenone, Junonia hierta, Junonia natalica, Junonia terea, Protogoniomorpha parhassus, Hypolimnas misippus<ref>Williams, M. (1994). Butterflies of Southern Africa; A Field Guide. ISBN 1-86812-516-5.</ref> and Microplexia costimaculalis.<ref>Guillermet, 2005. Les Hétérocères ou papillons de nuit, de l'île de La Réunion. Volume 1. Famille des Noctuidae Quadrifides. - — :1–532, pls. 1–13.</ref> The vigorous growth of A. g. micrantha in tropical regions.<ref name=SANBI/> makes it a weed which can smother certain indigenous vegetation where it has been introduced.<ref name=Australia/>

Gallery

References

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External links

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  • This page was last modified on 27 July 2015, at 10:31.
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