- Marsh pennywort,
Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.
C. asiatica is a perennial herb, hairless or slightly woolly with many horizontal and creeping stems. The leaves are round, 2 to 9 cm in diameter, arranged in groups of 4 to 5 and carried by a long petiole (1-10 cm). Generally broad and dull in the fields, they can be thick, fleshy and shining in places close to the sea. The purple flowers are very small and grouped by 2-5 at the leaf base.
Cotyledons are shortly stalked. Blade is oval to elliptical, slightly emarginateat apex, 6 mm long and 5 mm wide. They are smooth with a pronounced midrib.
First leaves are simple, alternate, borne on a long petiole, channeled with a sheathing base. The blade is kidney-shaped, 8.5 cm x 1.5 to 9.5 cm. The base is slightly cordate, the apex is rounded or emarginate. The margin is kerned or lobed (7 lobes). Both sides are smooth, prominent three-nerved from the base.
It is a creeping perennial weed. Grows up to 10 m height.
Taproot, and smaller roots at nodes.
Stem is thin, cylindrical, fluted, stoloniferous, with long internodes. Purple, glabrous or tomentum woolly, loose or dense.
Leaves are arranged in small clusters of 1 to 5. Blades are attached by long petiole 1 to 50 cm long. Leaflet is gutter and base sheathing, papery, glabrous to pubescent or woolly. Limbe wide, reniform to orbicular, base cordate and apex rounded, 1 to 7 cm long and 1.5 to 9.5 cm wide. Limbe loosely hairy or pubescent or woolly on the lower surface, especially the ribs. Upper surface glabrous. Leaf margin is crenate to dentate. Venation is palmate.
Inflorescence is very contracted with 1 to 5 flowers in umbel, in the axils of leaves.
Flowers are small greenish white to dark red. Corolla with 5 petals, oval to triangular, red to purple. 5 stamens alternate with the petals. Ovary inferior with 2 separate carpels and each surmounted by a style and a stigma. Flowers are bisexual, sessile or with pedicels slender, 15 mm long. Peduncle erect, long 1.5 to 5 cm, shorter than the petioles. Involucre formed from 2 to 3 bracts membranous, persistent, oblong or oval to subcircular, reaching 6 mm long and colored purple. Calyx with 5 small teeth at the top of the ovary.
Fruit is an achene, circular to ellipsoid shaped, yellowish brown and slightly lobed. Strongly constricted at the commissure, laterally compressed 2 mm long and 1.5 mm wide. Smooth or loosely pubescent.
C. asiatica is a perennial plant that multiplies by stolons. It also produces seeds.
Occurs in disturbed areas, river bed and villages. Prefers damp soil condition.
Native to Tropic and Subtropic regions.
Distributed throughout KNP.
Leaves are cooked as vegetable and also used as traditional medicine to treat skin complaints and alimentary ulcers.
It is controlled by hand pulling.
Plublications CC (A revised list of alien plants for the Kruger National Park.Koedoe) Foxcroft, L.C., Henderson, L., Nichols, G.R., Martin, B.W. (A Field Guide to Wild Flowers Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Region) Pooley, E. Published by The flora publications Trust c/o Natal Herbarium botanic Gardens Road, Durban 4001.
|Marsh pennywort||English||A field guide to wild flowers|
|Varkoortkies||South Africa||Afrikaans||A field guide to wild flowers|
|Waternavel||Afrikaans||A field guide to wild flowers|
|Bolila-balinku||Sotho||A field guide to wild flowers|
|Icudwane||Zulu||A field guide to wild flowers|