The Para cress flower (Blainvillea acmella (L.) Philipson) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Asteraceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Species B. acmella.
The terms are synonymous:
– Acmella linnaei Cass.;
– Acmella mauritanica Rich.;
– Acmella mauritiana Pers.;
– Bidens acmella (L.) Lam.;
– Blainvillea alba Edgew.;
– Blainvillea gayana var. lanceolata Chiov., 1904;
– Blainvillea hispida Edgew.;
– Blainvillea latifolia (L.fil.) DC.;
– Blainvillea latifolia var. angustifolia DC., 1836;
– Blainvillea latifolia var. latifolia;
– Blainvillea polycephala Gardner;
– Blainvillea racemosa Gardner;
– Blainvillea rhomboidea var. lanceolata (Poir.) DC.;
– Blainvillea rhomboidea var. polycephala (Gardner) Baker;
– Blainvillea rhomboidea var. racemosa (Gardner) Baker;
– Calyptocarpus burchellii Sch.Bip.;
– Ceratocephala acmella (L.) Kuntze;
– Ceratocephalus acmella (L.) Kuntze;
– Coreopsis acmella (L.) K.Krause;
– Eclipta latifolia L.fil.;
– Eclipta prostrata Lour.;
– Ecliptica latifolia (L.fil.) Kuntze;
– Eisenmannia clandestina Sch.Bip.;
– Eisenmannia clandestina Sch.Bip. ex Hochst.;
– Oligogyne burchelli Hook.;
– Pyrethrum acmella (L.) Medik.;
– Spilanthes acmella (L.) L.;
– Spilanthes acmella (L.) Murray;
– Verbesina acmella L.;
– Verbesina dichotoma Wall.;
– Verbesina lanceolata Poir.;
– Verbesina lavenia Roxb..
The term Blainvillea is of unknown origin.
The specific epithet Acmella is of uncertain etymology: for Gledhill from the Greek ἀκμή acmé tip, apex in the sense of pointed or vigorous; according to Daniel F. Austin in Florida Ethnobotany same etymology, but for the pungent taste of the leaves; for Coombes instead from the Sinhalese vernacular name of Acmella oleracea, but it is not very credible because it is a genus native to South America.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Blainvillea acmella is a plant native to Southeast Asia and present in the Andaman Islands, Assam, Cambodia, central-southern China, Hainan, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicobar Islands, Pakistan, Queensland, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Western Himalayas.
This plant has been introduced in other countries such as: Angola, Benin, Botswana, northern Brazil, northeast Brazil, southern Brazil, southeast Brazil, central-western Brazil, Burkina, Central African Republic, Egypt, Gulf of Guinea, Madagascar, Socotra, Somalia, Sudan and, probably, in others.
Its natural habitat is that of areas of vegetation and dry scrub or woods, especially if disturbed, even at the river margins, usually between 450 and 1350 m and, in any case, below 2600 m. s.l.m ..
Blainvillea acmella is an annual herbaceous plant that bears erect, 40-60 cm high, branched stems.
The lower leaves are opposite, with petioles up to 1 cm, lamina ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 3-6 × 2-3 cm, both surfaces not smooth, base cuneata, margin scarcely serrated, apex sharp.
The upper leaves are smaller, generally alternate, from ovate to ovate-oblong, 2-3 × 1.3-1.5 cm, generally rounded base.
The flower heads are axillary or terminal about 1 cm in diameter; thin peduncles, 15-40 mm, with scattered hairs; the single bracts are 2-seriate, external papery, green, ovate-oblong, about 6 mm, dorsally densely hairy, briefly acute or obtuse apex, internal ovate to oblong-linear, about 5 mm, scarcely pubescent, acute apex; the paleae are oblong-lanceolate, about 5 mm, dorsally pubescent, aristiform apex.
The flowers of radius 1-seriated, yellow or yellowish white, lamina about 3 mm, apex 2-4 teeth. The campanulate disc florets, with 5-toothed limbs.
Flowering from April to October depending on the latitude and altitude where it grows.
The fruits are densely pubescent achenes, those in female flowers at an angle of 3, about 4 mm, those in compressed bisexual flowers, about 5 mm; the pappus is short, uneven.
Blainvillea acmella is an annual plant that has been used since ancient times, by local populations, in traditional medicine.
The plant is harvested both in its natural state and cultivated; it grows in tropical and subtropical environments and can be propagated both by seed and, agamically, by division.
Customs and Traditions –
Blainvillea acmella is a plant whose one of the vernacular names is: Botón de oro but also takes the names of Para Cress Flower, Dholu Fuladu and others.
The whole plant is used in traditional medicines of local people.
The leaves are used in rheumatism, the flowers are used for headaches.
This plant is part of the herbal traditions of India and, when mixed with the leaves of the Bhangra plant (Eclipta prostrata (L.) L.), it can produce a black dye.
Preparation Method –
Blainvillea acmella is a plant that is part of the medical tradition of some populations of its places of origin.
The flower heads, leaves or the entire plant are used for this plant.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.