Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vernonia nudifolia--Iron Weed

This particular species of Vernonia is from Brazil, but others in this genus are native to Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In Africa, V. Calvoana, V. Amygdalina and V. colorata are eaten as leaf vegetables. It is called "Iron Weed" because the strong stems persist after leaves and flowers are gone. Plants in this genus generally have a bitter flavor, which discourages herbivores. The bitter chemicals have medicinal properties. Another Brazilian Vernonia species can be used to improve wound healing. An African species can be used to control diabetes. These plants have have been used traditionally and modern scientific research has substantiated the effectiveness. Blooming now near the Crop Garden at the UC Botanical Garden.

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