Dear readers, we continue with our thematic series related to the description of the general characteristics of some plant species that proliferate in agricultural ecosystems and that can interfere with the agronomic and productive activities of crops, therefore, the identification of this type of species is essential for producers, to establish the most appropriate management for their control.
- ORIGIN OF THE NAME: according to Mejía (2009), its name Heliotropium comes from the Greek “helios” = sun and “tropos” =back, because the inflorescence presents the flowers on the side of the top that is exposed in the sun. Indicum: relative to India from where this plant is native. Several of its common names allude to the shape of the inflorescence which resembles the tail of a scorpion or scorpion.
- ECO-BIOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION: Species originating from Southeast Asia, specifically from India. It is a dicotyledonous plant, of herbaceous consistency that is to say that it can be easily cut due to low lignin content, it has an approximate height of 0.20 cm to 1.0 m in height, it propagates by seeds, which remain enclosed in the fruit. It prefers fertile loamy loamy soils such as those found in some sectors of the southern zone of Lake Maracaibo Venezuela, with good humidity, partially tolerating waterlogging conditions and also has a reasonable tolerance to dry periods. In some countries it is used as an ornamental plant and is also widely used in folk naturopathic medicine.
- MORPHOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION: the plant has a taproot, that is, it has a main root with secondary roots, its stem is erect of cylindrical herbaceous consistency, branched from the base, the branches have a green surface and it is rough to the touch; the leaves are oblong- oval from 4 to 12cm long and from 2 to 4 cm wide, alternate, simple and have a petiole; the inflorescence is formed with white or violet flowers and its seeds are small.
- POSSIBLE DAMAGE AND CONTROL: in livestock ecosystems as long as an adequate management of pastures is carried out, it does not represent any problem with the cultivation, otherwise it could increase its coverage on the surface and displace the cultivation of grass competing for space, nutrients and any resource that the ecosystem can naturally contribute, due to its herbaceous consistency it is a plant that can be controlled with mechanical methods for example the use of scythes, rotary and machetes, but if you want to use a herbicide, you can locate a broad-leaved product with a herbaceous consistency to be more specific when purchasing it at the agricultural supplies store.
Dear readers, it is also important to note that in some sectors and countries they use this plant in naturopathic medicine as mentioned above, in this case they use the crushed leaves of the plants to heal wound and ulcers on the skin among other medicinal benefits. Therefore, we talk about pea plants, because, although they are not desired in agroecosystems, they can provide some benefit in the geographical area.
Mejía, J. (2009). Manual of banana weeds. Syngenta.
Amesty, J. (2015). Botanical composition and identification of forage and non-food species in the hacienda la samaria. UNESUR.
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