RARE GROUP OF 'AMARANTHACEAE' FAMILY PLANTS 'AERYA LANATA'

ABOUT 'AMARANTHACEAE' FAMILY PLANTS


BOTANICAL NAME:- Aerva lanata 
Syn :- Aerva bans, Aerva floribunda, Aerva brachiasa

VERNACULAR NAMES :

SINHALA : Polpala,Polkudupala.
TAMIL: Sirupulai 




DESCRIPTION :

Annual herb. 60-75 cm tall, often woody at base. Stem green erect or prostrate, with numerous, slender, cylindrical,more or less cottony, hairy branches.

LEAVES:- Simple, alternate, 1.2-3.5 cm long, 0.9-2.5 cm broad, oval or spatulate-oval, tapering to base rounded or subacute at apex.

FLOWERS:- Greenish white, very small, regular, bisexual, sessile in dense, axillary heads or spikes, bracts shorter than sepals, (period- throughout the year)

DISTRIBUTION :

Widespread in the drier parts of the tropics and subtropics of the old World (Dassanayake and Fosberg, 1980). Grows throughout India, Sri Lanka, Malaya, Java, Sumatra, and in Tropical Africa (Jayaweera, 1981). In Sri Lanka,it is a common weed in the mid and low-country especially in the Dry Zone both in waste and cultivated ground.

EDIBLE PARTS: Whole plant.
FOOD USE: Tender leaves are used for vegetable and infusion of whole plant (wet and dried) is drunk as a beverage.

NUTRITIONAL AND THERAPEUTIC VALUE :

A decoction of the plant is a reputed diuretic and considered of great value in lithiasis. The plant is also used for coughs and as a vermifuge for children. The roots are used in the treatment of headaches. (Jayaweera, 1981).

STORAGE :

It is normally sun-dried and kept in dry containers for longer periods.