Saturday, June 16, 2012

Euphorbia hirta

Euphorbia hirta (Order: Malpighiales Family: Euphorbiaceae) is a small sized monoecious weed that often grows in open space along with other weeds, which can easily colonise an area. The stems are erect and indeterminate. Several stems arise from the base close to the ground. Flowers are found in clusters that are borne at the nodes of the stem. The flower clusters are composed of many flowers that produce readily distributed seeds, thus making the plant an invasive weed. The plant can be considered hardy from the point of view that it can even grow in the cracks and crevasses of cemented spaces around buildings.

Like other plants in the Euphorbiaceae family, this weed contains latex. When the stem is cut, the latex will ooze out from the cut ends. The leaves when macerated on the palm gives an odour, which indicates that it possibly contains some kind of aromatic compounds. Perhaps, it is based on this characteristic that many research studies are being carried out to determine the chemical contents of the plant and to find the medicinal applications of the isolated biologically active compounds.

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