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aturalized Photo: Amit Kumar
Common name: Catweed, crofton weed, eupatory, hemp-agrimony, Mexican devil, sticky eupatorium, sticky snakeroot, white thoroughwort • Marathi: ओसाडी osadi • Malayalam: കമ്മുണിസ്റ്റ പച്ച kammunista pachcha • Manipuri: ꯖꯥꯄꯥꯟ ꯅꯄꯤ Japan napi, ꯖꯥꯄꯥꯟ ꯑꯣꯞꯔꯣ Japan opro • Mizo: Bihar-hlo, Midum-hlo • Nepali: बनमारा Banmara
Botanical name: Ageratina adenophora    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Eupatorium adenophorum, Eupatorium glandulosum

Native to Central America, Catweed is an erect, bushy, leafy, many-stemmed herb, growing to 2 m tall. It commonly occurs in disturbed areas. Leaves are opposite, soft, thin, shaped like a triangle or rhombus, with a toothed edge and conspicuous veins. They are dark green on the upper surface, lighter underneath, and may be slightly hairy; 4-12cm long, 3-9cm wide. Flowers profusely in spring and summer, producing dense clusters of white sticky hairy flowers, 5-8 mm in diameter, at the ends of the branchlets. Seed production is enormous - 10,000 to 100,000 per year when mature. The seeds are very small, light, brown to black, with a 4mm 'parachute' of white hairs, mid to late spring. Germination rates are high. Catweed has become widely naturalized in NE India.
Medicinal uses: The plant possesses significant wound healing properties according to the traditional use of this plant, and has been confirmed by modern studies. The curious Manipuri name Japan napi/opro owed its origin to the wound healing uses of this plant by Japanese army during the Second World War. It is said by local healers, that the Japanese Army during their conquest, dispersed seeds of this plant wherever they tread, which have spread freely to this day.

Identification credit: Tony from Sydney Photographed at FRI, Dehradun, Imphal, Manipur & Sirmaur distt, Himachal Pradesh.

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