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With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

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Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
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..... Author unknown.

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Asystasia gangetica ssp. micrantha - Useful Wildflower or Noxious Weed?


Asystasia intrusa is a common weed in Peninsular Malaysia. You can find them along roadsides, in rubbish dumps, vacant residential lands, wastelands and open areas along jungles. This one that I photographed is growing beside a drain in Ipoh. It looked like some people are growing it in flower pots for their own use?

It grows prolifically, has high shade tolerance and produces many seeds. Once established, it spreads rapidly. It can become extremely invasive and difficult to control or erradicate, hence it is regarded as a noxioius weed by orchards, oil palm and rubber plantation owners where chemical pesticides are needed to deal with the problem. It is a major problem here where it competes with the main crops for soil nutrients, affects yield and increases crop management costs.

This non-native plant was introduced to Malaysia, perhaps more than 90 years ago. Now it has become a naturalised weed in oil palm plantations, probably due to lack of control in the early years?

It is highly palatable to goats and cattle. When I showed this plant to a local nursery worker, asking whether they have the seedling, he laughed and exclaimed that it is 'rumput kambing' meaning goat grass which nobody wants to grow in their home gardens! Aha! Perhaps we can use goats and cattle grazing as a form of natural control for this intruder?

A website, ForestExplorers.com has recommended it as jungle survival plant. The leaves and shoots can be eaten as a vegetable in soups, e.g. cooked with instant noodles. However, please do not experiment eating those found in plantations and orchards as they may be covered with toxic weed killers.



Scientific name: Asystasia gangetica subspecies (ssp) micrantha
Synonym: Asystasia intrusa, A. gangetica, A. coromandeliana

Common name: Common Asystasia, Chinese Violet, Creeping Foxglove, Ganges Primrose
Chinese name: 赤边樱草 or 十万错花
In mandarin, 赤边樱草 (chi bian ying cao) means 'violet margin cherry (sakura) grass' and
十万错花 (shi wan cuo hua) means 'a hundred thousand wrong flowers'.

Malay name: rumput Pengorak, rumput kambing (goat grass), bunga istana.

Family: Acanthaceae (Ruelia family)
Native to: India, Malay Peninsular, Africa
Category: Ever-flowering perennial creeper

Generally, Asystasias are known as Chinese Violets or 'zi he hua' (紫鶴花) in mandarin
meaning purple crane flower.

'Intrusa' in Spanish means 'intruder'

It is listed in the "Alert List for Environmental Weeds" of Australia.

Asystasia intrusa - Wildflower or Noxious Weed?”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on May 6th, 2011.



Under favourable conditions, this herbaceous plant can grow up to about 1m tall. The leaves which are paler in shade on the underside, are elliptical and rounded at the base. They are arranged in equal pairs opposite each other. Blooms are in the form of terminal inflorescences with numerous single bell-shaped flowers about 20-25mm (1") long. The flowers are creamy white with purple blotches in 2 parallel lines on the keel petal.  The seed capsules are about 30mm long and club-shaped. They turn brown when ripe and explode, spreading the seeds everywhere.

Now, what do you think - a wildflower or weed?
References:

4. FAO article

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday hosted by Glenda at Tootsie Time, the link is here.


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

20 comments:

  1. Sometimes non-native plants (and animals) bring disaster and damage rather than the benefit they were suppose to bring.

    Any idea why this was introduced in Malaysia?

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  2. They are all over the places.

    They appeared in my blog as well.

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  3. It is so interesting what we choose as weeds. That flower looks lovely in the photo, but I am sure if I lived there I might agree with the weed classification.

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  4. It is hard to believe such a beautiful plant is a weed, but I guess if it's invasive in your climate/locale it could be a problem. Maybe in its native habitat it isn't a problem plant? Thanks for sharing the information!

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  5. It is such a pretty little flower to have such a BIG attitude in the garden.

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  6. A flower is only a weed in the wrong place. It does have a pretty flower. We also have plants here that are a problem to farmers. Great post.

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  7. Whatever it is, the photos are lovely especially no. 2. I dont blame whoever brought it to Malaysia, maybe she thought it is lovely as an ornamental.

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  8. Its a wildflower and a lovely one too. Suspected its purple in color and my guess is right when you mentioned the Chinese name. Yesssss!!! Full of satisfaction haha..tQ

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  9. My dear friends, Happy Morning!

    This pretty little flower really looks very sweet and harmless. I too never expected its true potential to cause havoc, lol.

    Bananaz, this flower is creamy white with only a hint of violet in the centre :>)

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  10. Sometimes those invasive weeds are the prettiest! That is, until they take over, or you find their faults, and realize why they're called a weed! Then no amount of prettiness can make them look good!

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  11. I thought I have seen it somewhere...

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  12. gosh, I don't know. I hate anything that explodes seeds. It sure is a pretty flower though...

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  13. Yes, there are everywhere ...
    Not so easy to photograph especially the white under direct sunlight !
    Lovely...
    Happy Mother's day !

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  14. your warning about toxic weed killer remind me think of the 4 legged snakes. People tell me not to eat them.

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  15. We may see them as weeds, but in your post, they look really pretty!
    Happy Mother's Day, Autumn Belle!

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  16. You must get lots of visits from people who Google Malaysian flowers!


    Glad to come to this lovely web garden :-)

    Aloha from Waikiki


    Comfort Spiral

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  17. Many weeds have very pretty flowers, but their leaves and stems leave a lot to be desired. Same with their growing habits. I admire their ability to adapt and survive, but grown in the wrong place, they get the moniker weed. Pretty flower, but sad to see it invasive.

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  18. There are still so many different flowers in bloom here and some looks similar as this one you have.

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  19. "Love is like wildflowers; it is often found in the most unlikely places." ..... source unknown.

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Words are like the voice of the heart... Confucius

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