Guinea Henweed
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Guinea Henweed
aturalized Photo: Shaista Ahmad
Common name: Guinea Henweed, Anamu, Garlic weed
Botanical name: Petiveria alliacea    Family: Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed family)
Synonyms: Mapa graveolens, Petiveria corrientina, Petiveria foetida, Petiveria graveolens

Guinea Henweed is a deeply rooted herbacious perennial shrub native to tropical areas of Africa, South and Central America and the Caribbean. It has now naturalized in India. It grows up to 1 m tall, and has velvety to smooth stems. The roots and leaves have a strong, garlic-like odour which taints the milk and meat of animals that graze on it. It produces dark green leathery leaves that lie close to the ground and tall spikes lined with small white flowers that sway above the leaves. Leaves are elliptic to oblong or obovate, to 20 × 7 cm, with 0.4-2 cm long stalks. Base is acute to wedge-shaped, tip is narrow or acute to obtuse or rounded. Flowers are regularly spaced, with white or greenish to pinkish, linear-lanceshaped to linear-oblong sepals, about 3.5-6 mm long.
Medicinal uses: Guinea Henweed has been widely used to treat an astounding range of medical conditions both in humans and in animals including: venereal diseases, an antiseptic, arthritis, pain, cancer, womb inflammation, diuretic, decoagulant, cold, snake bite, flu, cods, hysteria, paralysis, fever, rabies, to treat arrow poison in Brazil and as a bat and insect repellent.

Identification credit: Shanker Rao Photographed in Bangalore.

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