Sunday, August 2, 2015

කිඹුල්වැන්න[Kibulwenna]/Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides)

Native herb of Brazil and Argentina. Invasive in Australia, China, New Zealand,Thailand and USA. In 1995 it was found that Alligator weed has been growing in home gardens of  the Sri Lankan community in Australia as a vegetable by mistake*.  Later on somehow it was introduced to the Sri Lanka and now an invasive weed in several areas, growing in dense masses in shallow water.

* Invasive Plants - A guide to the identification of the most invasive plants in Sri Lanka, Lalith Gunasekara

1 comment:

  1. This plant was first observed in Sri Lanka in 1998, as per C.N.B. Bambaradeniya (2000, Alien invasive species in Sri Lanka, Loris, 22(4):pp.3-7). It was probably first introduced as a leafy vegetable by mistake by the Sri Lankan community living in Australia.

    Other than being an Invasive Alien Species, a major issue of the plant is that it can absorb heavy metals which can be hazardous to those who consume the plants. (However this ability of the plant can be used to remove heavy metals from polluted wetlands, in phytoremediation -

    I found a reference that this is also called බටපලා & වල් මුකුණුවැන්න (