Articles

Cosmos caudatus Kunth

Cosmos caudatus Kunth

Family

Compositae

Synonyms

Cosmos bipinnatus Ridley. non Ca­vanilles.

Vernacular Names

Malay­sia

Ulam raja, pelampong.

English

Cosmos.

Indonesia

Kenikir (Java), randa midang (West Java).

Philippines

Cosmos (Tagalog), turay-turay (Bisaya), onwad (Ifugao).

Thailand

Daoruang-phama (Bangkok), khamhae (Northern).

Geographical Distributions

Cosmos caudatus is indigenous to tropical America. It was intro­duced by the Spaniards into the Philippines, pos­sibly because it was used by them as a vegetable at sea. Now it is pantropical, including Southeast Asia, where it is cultivated but also occurs in a naturalised state.

Description

Cosmos caudatus is an erect, annual to short-lived perennial herb. The upper half is much branched, aromatic and up to 3 m tall. Its stem is longitudinally striate, green and often tinged with purple.

The leaves are arranged opposite, 2-4 pin­nate or pinnatipartite, triangular-ovate in outline, measuring 2.5-20 cm x 1.5-20 cm, dark green above, nearly hairless and light green below with minute hairs. The petiole is up to 5 cm long. The ultimate leaf segments are ob­long-lance-shaped and measuring 0.5-5 cm x 1-8 mm.

The inflorescence is a head, which is terminal (with other heads forming a lax panicle) or axillary, solitary and it is in the axils of the higher leaves. The peduncle is 5-30 cm long. There are 8 involucral bracts, which are linear-lance-shaped, measure 1.5-2 cm long and re­flexed in the fruit. The 8 ray flowers are sterile, of which the ligules are linear­ lance-shaped, measuring 1-1.5 cm x 0.5 cm, mostly violet or red­dish but seldom yellow or white. The tubular flowers are 0.7-1 cm long, bi­sexual, numerous and yellowish-green.

The fruit is one-seeded, linear-spindle-shaped, 4-angular, measures 1-3 cm long, black and ends with a beak with 2-3 short unequal awns.

Ecology / Cultivation

When not cultivated, Cosmos caudatus often oc­curs as a weed in the neighbourhood of human habitations, e.g. in fields and waste places, from the lowlands up to 1600 m altitude. It likes sunny places with a not-too-humid atmosphere and a fertile, pervious soil.

Line Drawing / Photograph

BOT00381

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References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.8: Vegetables.