I am writing about herbs in the 2016 April AtoZ blogging challenge. Most of the herbs written in this series are those I have seen or used. Today’s herb elicited happy childhood memories from my botany friends when I shared the images with them. Being brought up in the great city of Bombay (as it was then called) I was unfamiliar with this… Namely, kids often throw spiny fruit of this plant at people and watch it stick to their clothing. Obviously people in that age group find it funny!!
So here we have it, X is for Xanthium strumarium which belongs to the Asteraceae family. Locally its called Shankeshwar or Ghagra in Marathi and another common name is Common Cocklebur. Naturally it was the bright shiny spiny fruit that caught my eye and some closer inspection of its leaves, stem and fruit helped identify the herb after I reached home.
Ghagra is said to belong to Central America but it has now naturalised all around the world. The spiny fruit probably helps in seed dispersal by clinging on to animal fur. The herb has large lobed hairy leaves and the fruits are formed on the stem itself. The plant parts are said to have medicinal uses as well.
Have you any such childhood memories to share?
We are nearing the end of our blogging journey with another two days to go.
Hang in there friends!