Achyranthes paludosa Bunbury
Achyranthes philoxeroides (Mart.) Standl.
Alternanthera philoxerina Suess.
Bucholzia philoxeroides Mart.
Celosia amphibia Salzm. ex Moq.
Mogiphanes philorexoides D. Parodi
Telanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Moq.
Alternanthera philoxeroides is a herbaceous, perennial plant with creeping stems that form roots at the nodes. The stems usually become ascending towards their apex and can be 55 - 120cm long; they are often much-branched, with the plant forming a dense mat of growth[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It has been used in aquaculture to remove pollutants from the water and as a source of biomass, though thi should be done with care because of the plant's high propensity to become an invasive weed.
S. America - Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, the Guyanas
Stagnant or slow-moving water in pools and ditches[
Alternanthera philoxeroides is found in tropical to warm temperate zones. Plants are not very cold tolerant - frost and ice will kill exposed stems and leaves, but stems underneath this top mat of dead material are often protected enough to survive the winter and become the basis of the next season's growth[
Succeeds on a wide range of substrata, from sand to heavy clay. When floating on water, it may be rooted in the bank or substrate, or can be free floating[
]. The plant grows best in aquatic sites but may establish as a terrestrial species in wet and poor pastures and on irrigated lands. It prefers level areas of shore or shallow water where it is protected from wave erosion. As with many weeds it thrives in eutrophic conditions and thus often increases where urban and industrial development have polluted and degraded water quality. It loves fresh water of high fertility, but can also tolerate saline soils and waters and is found along the inland tidal reaches of rivers that run to the sea[
This species is a serious problem in waterways in tropical and warm-temperate regions of the world, where it probably grows in a wider range of water and soil conditions than any other major aquatic weed. Its growth is equally startling whether free floating, loosely attached and forming a mat, or as an emersed plant in a wet or relatively dry field[
]. Its dense mat of growth can smother most other herbaceous plant species. The plant often does not produce viable seed, but manages to spread freely by vegetative means[
]. For example, severe storms may strip the leaves from anchored mats or tear the tangled vegetation loose and move it to a new location where it can then grow and establish itself. In the same way, attempts at physical control usually only serve to spread the weed since it is very difficult to ensure that no fragments of the plant are left[
Leaves - raw. The young tops can be eaten raw or cooked[
An extract of the plant is used medicinally in India to treat 'female diseases'[
The plant can be used as a tertiary filtration system for domestic sewage[
The plant is sometimes cultivated as a source of biomass for compost-making[
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