There is some disagreement over the correct name for this species. We are using the original name, Spermacoce hispida, which has been accepted for conservation and is treated as the correct name in the 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families' and many other recent publications. However, some other authorities still accept Borreria hispida[
Borreria articularis hispida (L.) Sivar. & Manilal
Borreria hispida (L.) K.Schum.
Spermacoce avana R.Br. ex G.Don
Spermacoce mutilata Blanco
Spermacoce rigida Salisb.
Common Name: Shaggy Button Weed
Spermacoce hispida is an annual to perennial, variable, creeping to erect, branched, short hairy herb, growing up to 15 cm tall[
The plant is used in traditional medicine in southeast Asia, the plant being harvested from the wild. It is also used as a vegetable in Sri Lanka, where it is sold in local markets[
E. Asia - southern China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Open sandy lands at lower elevations in southern China[
]. Behind beaches, in dry gardens, teak forests, along steep roadsides, on sandy soils, locally abundant, at elevations from sea-level up to 500 metres[
Leaves - eaten as a vegetable, usually with other plants[
The seeds have been recommended as a coffee substitute[
The plant is considered to be emetic[
The aerial parts of the plant are taken as a febrifuge[
], and are also considered to be stimulant and tonic[
Externally, the leaves are applied in poultices to treat headache - they appear to have a cooling effect on the head and so allay the pain somewhat[
]. They are also used as a poultice on wounds and sores[
A decoction of the leaves is considered an astringent and used to treat haemorrhoids[
A decoction of the root is used as an alterative[
]. The decoction is also used as a mouthwash for toothache[
The seeds are considered cooling and demulcent, and are given in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery[
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