Asiatic Witchweed
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Asiatic Witchweed
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Asiatic Witchweed • Marathi: पिवला आग्या Pivla agya • Tamil: Pallipoondu, kollaippalli, Chirakachitam, Chirakacitappuntu • Malayalam: Kalu-polapen • Telugu: Rathi badamika • Kannada: bili kasa, jolada baeru maari
Botanical name: Striga asiatica    Family: Orobanchaceae (Broomrape family)
Synonyms: Striga lutea

Asiatic Witchweed is a coarse annual herb, growing to 10-20 cm tall. Stems are erect, rarely branched. Leaf are small, linear to narrowly lanceshaped, 5-20 mm long, 1-4 mm wide, sometimes reduced to scales. Flowers arise singly or in a spike in leaf axils. Sepal cup is 4-8 mm, 10-ribbed. Sepals are 5, as long as tube. Flowers are usually yellow, rarely red or white, with a 0.8-1.5 cm long tube, and 2-lipped. Upper lip is 2-lobed. Capsule is ovoid, enveloped in surviving sepals. This species is harmful to crops, particularly to sugar cane. Flowering: September-October.
Medicinal uses: The whole plant is used for treating intestinal parasites.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed at Khandala, Maharashtra.
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