The Gallant Soldier (Galinsoga parviflora Cav., 1795) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Asteraceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Species G. parvi flora.
The following terms are synonymous:
– Adventina parviflora (Cav.) Raf.;
– Anthemis semperflorens Schrank, 1789;
– Baziasa microglossa Steud.;
– Galinsoga acmella Steud.;
– Galinsoga calva Sch.Bip.;
– Galinsoga hirsuta Baker;
– Galinsoga laciniata Retx.;
– Galinsoga laciniata Retz.;
– Galinsoga parviflora f. parceglandulosa Thell.;
– Galinsoga parviflora f. parvi flora;
– Galinsoga parviflora f. quinqueradiata Thell., 1916;
– Galinsoga parviflora f. subeglandulosa Thell.;
– Galinsoga parviflora subsp. adenophora Thell.;
– Galinsoga parviflora subsp. genuina Thell.;
– Galinsoga parviflora subsp. parceglandulosa;
– Galinsoga parviflora subsp. parvi flora;
– Galinsoga parviflora subsp. quinqueradiata Thell.;
– Galinsoga parviflora subsp. semicalva Gray;
– Galinsoga parviflora subsp. subeglandulosa Thell.;
– Galinsoga parviflora var. adenophora Thell.;
– Galinsoga parviflora var. genuina Thell., 1916;
– Galinsoga quinqueradiata Ruiz & Pav.;
– Galinsoga semicalva subsp. percalva Blake;
– Galinsoga semicalva var. percalva S.F.Blake;
– Sabazia microglossa DC.;
– Sabazia microglossa subsp. microglossa;
– Sabazia microglossa subsp. puberula DC.;
– Sabazia microglossa var. microglossa;
– Sabazia microglossa var. puberula DC.;
– Stemmatella sodiroi Hieron.;
– Vigolina acmella (Roth) Poir.;
– Vigolina armella Steud.;
– Wiborgia acmelea Roth;
– Wiborgia acmella Roth;
– Wiborgia parviflora (Cav.) Kunth.
Within this species, the following varieties are recognized:
– Galinsoga parviflora var. parviflora Cav .;
– Galinsoga parviflora var. semicalva A.Gray.
The term Galinsoga of the genus was dedicated to Ignacio Mariano Martinez de Galinsoga (1766-1797), physician and superintendent of the Madrid Botanical Garden.
The specific epithet parviflora comes from small párvus and flos floris fiore: with small or few flowers.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Galinsoga parviflora is a plant native to South America (Peru), however it is widely naturalized in other countries such as North America and Australasia.
It is a widely spread plant as an adventitia in almost all regions of Italy where it is however rarer on the central-southern Adriatic side. In the Alps it is present everywhere; even beyond the border (always in the Alps) it is a common plant (apart from some French departments). On the various European reliefs it is missing only in the Dinaric Alps (it is therefore present in the Black Forest, Vosges, Jura Massif, Central Massif, Pyrenees, Balkan Mountains and Carpathians).
It is often a weed and synanthropic plant, especially in summer crops, and its growth habitat is mainly in corn fields, potatoes and vineyards but also uncultivated and abandoned areas. The preferred substrate is both calcareous and siliceous with acid pH, high nutritional values of the soil which must be moderately humid and relatively warm-heavy, with an altitudinal distribution up to 1500 m s.l.m ..
Galinsoga parvi flora is a herbaceous plant whose height reaches a maximum of 10 – 50 cm, with an erect flower axis, often with few leaves and roots of the bundled type and the presence of a taproot.
The epigeal part is erect, striated and very branchy, with the upper part glabrous or with scattered hairs of the appressed type.
The leaves are petiolate, arranged in the opposite way; they have a lanceolate (or even ovate) whole lamina with a roughly toothed margin and sharp apex. The petiole is 1 – 2 cm long and the size of the lamina is 2 – 3 cm in width and 4 – 5 cm in length.
The inflorescences are terminal flower heads on short peduncles. The structure of the flower heads is that typical of the Asteraceae: a peduncle supports a hemispherical envelope composed of several scales available imbricated and arranged in a series that protect the receptacle, on which two types of flowers are inserted: the external ligulate ones (normally 5, but they can reach up to 9) of white color, arranged in a single rank; the internal tubular ones (from 30 to 50) are yellow-orange in color. The external scales (or bracts) (1 or 2) are largely elliptical to obovate and smaller, while the internal ones are lanceolate to linear; they can be whole or lobed. Length of peduncles: 2 – 4 cm. Diameter of the flower heads: 5 – 7 mm. Casing diameter: 4 mm.
The flowers are sympathetic, zygomorphic (the ligulate ones) and actinomorphic (the tubular ones); they are also tetra-cyclic (ie formed by 4 verticils: chalice – corolla – androceum – gynoecium) and pentamers (chalice and corolla formed by 5 elements). They are also hermaphrodites, more precisely the flowers of the ray (the ligulate ones) are female; while those of the central disc (tubulosis) are bisexual.
Flowering is from May to October.
The fruits are 1.5-2.5 mm achenes (cypsele), obconical or obpyramidal, with pappus formed by 5-10 lesiniform, tridentate, whitish scales of 0.5-2 mm.
Galinsoga parviflora is a plant that grows spontaneously, often ingesting and synanthropic whose edible leaves are sometimes collected in nature and consumed locally, the plant also has medicinal applications.
However, the plant is considered poisonous to goats.
It is an easily cultivated plant, growing in most soils preferring well-drained conditions and full sun or partial shade.
It self-seeds easily and can complete a life cycle (from germination to seed spreading) in as little as 50 days.
Plants grow best in humid conditions and can become very numerous during irrigation or in rainy conditions throughout the year in the tropics but also in temperate climates, especially in irrigated crops.
Propagation occurs by seed. The seed can be sown by broadcasting and germination can take place at temperatures between 10 ° 35 ° C; it usually happens within a month.
Customs and Traditions –
Galinsoga parvi flora is a plant known in many areas of the planet where it takes various names. Among the most adopted are: guasca (Colombia), pacpa yuyo, paco yuyo and waskha (Peru), burrionera (Ecuador), albahaca silvestre and saetilla (Argentina), mielcilla (Costa Rica), piojito (Oaxaca, Mexico), galinsoga ( New Zelanada), gallant soldier, quickweed and potato weed (United Kingdom and USA.
Galinsoga parviflora is a plant that, imported from the countries of origin, then naturalized in other countries where it has often become a weed.
The plant, however, has applications in both food and medicine.
In Colombia it is used as a herb in ajiaco soup. It can also be used as an ingredient in leafy salads, although its subtle flavor, reminiscent of artichoke, develops especially after cooking. In East Africa, the plant is harvested in nature and its leaves, stem and flowers are eaten. It is also dried and ground into a powder for use in soups.
In the medicinal field it is used for various remedies. According to folk medicine, this plant has the following medicinal properties:
– astringent (limits the secretion of liquids);
– healing (accelerates the healing of wounds).
It is also useful for the treatment of nettle stings; in fact, if rubbed on the body it is useful in the treatment of nettle stings and other skin inflammations.
The juice of the plant is applied, in addition, to heal wounds, it helps to clot the blood of fresh cuts and wounds.
Other uses include agroforestry: in fact, when it grows well, the plant is seen as an indicator of high soil fertility.
Preparation Method –
Galinsoga parvi flora is a plant, as mentioned, which is used both in the food and medicinal fields.
The young parts of the plant (stems and leaves) can be used as vegetables, as salads, if raw, or for soups, if cooked, or dried and then ground to produce a seasoning powder (like a spice). For example, in Colombia a soup called “Ajiaco” is prepared with this spice.
The flower heads and buds are usually removed and the leaves can be dried and ground into a powder, then used as a topping in soups, etc.
In South America, dried leaves (called ‘guascas’) are an essential condiment for some dishes.
The fresh juice of this plant can be mixed and drunk with tomato or vegetable juices.
– 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.