African Globe Thistle
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African Globe Thistle
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: African Globe Thistle • Hindi: Mundi
Botanical name: Sphaeranthus africanus    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Sphaeranthus ovalis, Sphaeranthus alatus, Sphaeranthus microcephalus

African Globe Thistle is a plant with 40-50 cm tall, usually robust stems, which are hairless or velvet-hairy, curved, ascending, branched, winged, wings entire. Stem leaves are obovate-oblong, 3-5 cm long, 1.5-2.2 cm wide, velvety or becoming hairless, base narrowed, tip rounded. Inflorescence consists of clusters of white globose or ovoid flower-heads about 8 mm in diameter. Flower-heads are carried on hairless, winged stalks. Bracts are slender, long-pointed. Flower-head cup is bell-shaped, about 3 x 2.5 mm. Involucre is about 3 x 2.5 mm, phyllaries subequal, oblanceolate, glabrous or only outermost ones abaxially glandular. Receptacle is naked. Marginal florets are numerous, corolla tubular, about 1.5 mm, style tip blunt. Central florets are about 3; corolla about 1.5 mm, 5-toothed, base of anthers entire, filaments dilated, glabrous; style cylindric, shortly bifid. Achenes cylindric, ca. 1 mm, gland-dotted, without pappus. African Globe Thistle is found in tropical Africa, and Asia throughout Malaya to Australia. Flowering: December-May.
Medicinal uses: In Ayurveda, the plant is believed to pacify vitiated vata, pitta epilepsy, migraine, jaundice, fever, cough, hemorrhoids, helminthiasis, skin diseases and as nervine tonic.

Identification credit: Shrikant Ingalhalikar
Photographed at Mankhurd, Mumbai.
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