Wild Cosmos
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Wild Cosmos
aturalized Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Wild Cosmos, Ulam Raja
Botanical name: Cosmos caudatus    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Wild Cosmos is a wild cousin of the popular garden plant, Cosmos. It is an annual herb, growing 1–8 ft tall, hairless or sparsely hairy. Leaf stalks are 1–7 cm long. Leaves are finely dissected, 10–20 cm long. Ultimate lobes are 2–10 mm wide. Flowers (flower-heads, technically) are borne on 10–30 cm long stalks. Petals (actually ray florets) are rose-pink to purple, oblong to inverted-lance shaped, 0.5–1.5 cm long, 3-lobed at the tip. Disc florets are 5–6 mm, yellow. Wild Cosmos is native to the American continents, but widely naturalized. This plant is supposed to be edible. It is believed that Wild Cosmos was brought to South Asia by sailing Spaniards who used it as food. Flowering: June-November.
Medicinal uses: In SE Asia, the plant is used traditionally for improving blood circulation.

Identification credit: Ryan Brookes
Photographed at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra.
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