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Mollugo verticillata

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Illustratio systematis sexualis Linnaeani (Tab. 8) (6059106317)

Mollugo verticillata,<ref name=":1">Template:Cite web</ref> the green carpetweed,<ref>Template:PLANTS</ref> is a rapidly spreading annual plant from tropical America. In eastern North America, it is a common weed growing in disturbed areas. It forms a prostrate circular mat that can quickly climb over nearby plants and obstacles. The species has been reported from every state in the United States except Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, as well as from British Columbia, Manitoba. Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.<ref>Flora of North America v 4 p 510</ref> Although considered an invasive weed, M. verticillata is also known to be edible. Archaeological evidence has shown that M. verticillata has been in North America for about 3000 years. Sometimes also referred to as "Indian chickweed", in China this plant is referred to as zhong leng su mi cao.

Description

Carpetweed has narrow, whorled leaves, 3-8 at each node. At maturity the plant may lose its characteristic basal rosette formation. Leaves are approximately 1–3 cm in length and possess an obovate shape. Leaf apex may vary from rounded to acute.<ref name=vert>Template:Cite web</ref> The plant will grow and sprawl across the soil due to its habit of prostrate growth and form mats.<ref name=health>Template:Cite journal</ref> The flowers are usually in clusters of 2-5, blooming from July through September. Flowers are white or greenish white with tiny 5–15 mm stalks. Flowers quickly turn into fruit that is egg shaped and 1.5–4 mm in length. The dehiscent capsule opens at maturity. The seeds are 0.5 mm long and are red to rusty brown in coloration.<ref>D'Arcy, W.G. 1987. Flora of Panama. Checklist and Index. Part 1: The introduction and checklist. Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 17: v–xxx, 1–328.</ref><ref>P. D. Strausbaugh and Earl L. Core. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Seneca Books Inc., 1964. Template:ISBN</ref><ref>Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal, and Joseph M. Ditomaso. Weeds of the Northeast. Cornell University Press, 1997. Template:ISBN</ref>

Taxonomy

Advances in molecular genetic sequencing has improved understandings of the taxonomic relationship in the family Molluginaceae which had previously not been as inclusive.<ref name=isolated>Template:Cite journal</ref> Genera from Molluginaceae had previously been placed under Aizoaceae, Nyctaginaceae, and Phytolaccaceae before recent studies.<ref name= family>Template:Cite web</ref> The genus Mollugo L. currently comprises about 35 species of annual herbs.<ref name=herbarium>Template:Cite web</ref> Several sub taxa species of M. verticillata have been reported due to its varying morphological nature however they are not thoroughly documented.<ref name=vert /> Mollugo verticillata has many accepted synonyms including: Mollugo dichotoma, Mollugo diffusa, Mollugo costata, Pharnaceum arenarium, and Pharnaceum verticellatum to name a few.<ref name=plantlist>Template:Cite web</ref> It is also referred to as alfombra in Spanish, and mollugine in French.<ref name=":0">Template:Cite web</ref> Other closely related sister taxa include Mollugo floriana, Mollugo flavescens, Mollugo snodgrassii, Mollugo crockeri, and Mollugo enneandra. <ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Distribution and habitat

The wide range of M. verticillata is apparent across North America, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Eurasia and Africa.<ref name=idplant>Template:Cite web</ref> There is agreement among some studies that the carpetweed origin is from the New World tropics and it spread into more temperate zones afterwards.<ref name=vert /> Overall the place of origin has been attributed to the tropics or subtropics of the northern and southern hemispheres.<ref name=archeology /> Commonly found in warm to wet environments across North America.<ref name=health />

Uses

Along with Glinus (Molluginaceae), Mollugo are edible plants that have historically been utilized as vegetables or for medicinal benefits.<ref name=family /> The family Molluginaceae has been studied for its therapeutic enduing characteristics due to the production of Triterpene sapanonins and Flavonoids. Research has shown that acetic acid extracted from M. verticillata could be a potential immunomodulator. The chemical makeup in members of the family Molluginaceae in general have anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.<ref name="health" />

Ethnobotany

Carbon dating has dated seeds of M. verticillata found in Icehouse Bottom Tennessee back to 1170- 140 B.C. Other seeds found in Troyville, Louisiana were dated back to 500 A.D. It is unsure exactly when or how M. verticillata spread into temperate North America. European movements were not the cause of this migration because carbon dating reveals that the plant was in the Little Tennessee river valley 3000 years ago. Despite little apparent food value, native aborigines may have had uses of M. verticillata that are unclear today. Carpetweed, also referred to as "Indian chickweed", was utilized as a potherb by the Southern Appalachian aborigines.<ref name="archeology">Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="aborigines">Template:Cite journal</ref>

Conservation status

Carpetweed is considered to be globally secure.<ref name=":1" /> It is also credited as an invasive weed by USDA.gov.<ref name=usda>Template:Cite web</ref> IUCN RedList states that the taxon has not been assessed for the IUCN Red List.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Other accounts cite the weed as being native to the Continental US, Caribbean territories, Mexico and introduced to Canada.<ref name=":0" /> It can be found in disturbed habitats such as fields, parking lots and gardens.<ref name=idplant />

References

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External links

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