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Botanical Name: Hydrocotyle Asiatica
Synonyms: Indian Pennywort. Marsh Penny. White Rot. Thick-leaved Pennywort.
Common Names: Water pennywort, Indian pennywort, Marsh penny, White rot
Habitat: Hydrocotyleae grows in Asia and Africa in wet and damp places in the tropics and the temperate zones.
Water pennyworts, Hydrocotyles, are very common. They have long creeping stems that often form dense mats, often in and near ponds, lakes, rivers, marshes and some species in coastal areas by the sea….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Leaves are Simple, with small leafy outgrowth at the base, kidney shaped to round. Leaf edges are scalloped.
Flowers: Flower clusters are simple and flat-topped or rounded. Involucral bracts Inconspicuous bracts at the base of each flower. Indistinct sepals.
Fruits and reproduction: Elliptical to round with thin ridges and no oil tubes (vitta) which is characteristic in the fruit of umbelliferous plants. The prostrate plants reproduce by seed and by sending roots from stem nodes.
The Hydrocotyle genus has between 75 and 100 species. that grow in tropical and temperate regions worldwide A few species have entered the world of cultivated ornamental aquatics. A list of selected species are :
*Hydrocotyle americana L. — American marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle batrachium Hance
*Hydrocotyle benguetensis Elm.
*Hydrocotyle bonariensis Lam. — largeleaf pennywort
*Hydrocotyle bowlesioides Mathias & Constance — largeleaf marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle dichondroides Makino
*Hydrocotyle heteromeria — waxweed
*Hydrocotyle hirsuta Sw. — yerba de clavo
*Hydrocotyle javanica Thunb.
*Hydrocotyle keelungensis Liu, Chao & Chuang
*Hydrocotyle leucocephala Cham. & Schltdl. — Brazilian pennywort
*Hydrocotyle mannii Hook.f.
*Hydrocotyle microphylla A.Cunn.
*Hydrocotyle moschata G. Forst. — musky marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle nepalensis Hook.
*Hydrocotyle novae-zelandiae DC.
*Hydrocotyle prolifera Kellogg — whorled marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle pusilla A. Rich. — tropical marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle ranunculoides L. f. — floating marshpennywort, floating marshpennywort, floating pennyroyal
*Hydrocotyle setulosa Hayata
*Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides Lam. — lawn marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle umbellata L. — manyflower marshpennywort, umbrella pennyroyal
*Hydrocotyle verticillata Thunb. — whorled marshpennywort, whorled marshpennywort, whorled pennyroyal
*Hydrocotyle vulgaris L.
Part Used: The Leaves.
Constituents: An oily volatile liquid called vellarin (which has a strong smell reminiscent of the plant, and a bitter, pungent, persistent taste) and tannic acid.
Medicinal Uses: A valuable medicine for its diuretic properties; has long been used in India as an aperient or alterative tonic, useful in fever and bowel complaints and a noted remedy for leprosy, rheumatism and ichthyosis; employed as a poultice for syphilitic ulcers. In small doses it acts as a stimulant, in large doses as a narcotic, causing stupor and headache and with some people vertigo and coma.
The native species is not unlike the Indian variety, but there is a slight difference in the leaves.
European hydrocotyle vulgaris (syn. Common Pennywort). Leaves orbicular and peltate. The plant appears to have no noxious qualities; it grows freely in boggy places on the edges of lakes and rivers.
The plant has come into disfavour because it is said to cause footrot in sheep.