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Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague ex Turrill

Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague ex Turrill

Family

Umbelliferae

Synonyms

Sison ammi L., Trachyspermum copticum (L.) Link, Carum copticum Hiern.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Jemuju, hajimuju, mungsi (Peninsular).
English (True) bishop’s weed, carum.
Indonesia Mungsi (Javanese, Malay), mose (Madurese), musi (Balinese).
Thailand Phakchee (Northern).
Philippines Damoro (Tagalog, Pampangan), lamudio (Tagalog, Bikol).

Geographical Distributions

Trachyspermum ammi is probably a native of Ethiopia and Egypt, and occurs semi-naturally in southern Europe, but also found cultivated in northern Africa, Ethiopia, western Asia, India, Iran and the former USSR, as well as here and there in Southeast Asia, e.g. in Java (Indonesia), Peninsular Malaysia and the Philippines.

Description

T. ammi is an annual, erect and aromatic herb that reaches up to a height of 25-60(-140) cm. The stem is striate, smooth and usually strongly branched.

The leaves are arranged alternately pinnately compound. The stalk is long and sheathing. Its blade in outline is egg-shaped-elliptical, measuring up to 13 cm x 12 cm. There are 2-3-pinnate, segments linear to narrowly oblong and measuring to 2 mm long.

The inflorescence is a terminal or arising from the axils, compound umbel and measures up to 6 cm in diametre. Its peduncle is measures 1-10 cm long. There are about 3-6 bracts compartment, which are linear-lance-shaped and sometimes divided. There are 5-9(-17) rays per umbel, 0.5-3 cm long and, measuring up to 2 cm in fruit. The pedicels (secondary rays) are 8-15(-25) and 1-6 mm long. There are 4-7 secondary bracts on the pedicel. The flowers are radially symmetrical, 5-merous, bisexual, sepal teeth are 0.5 mm long, fleshy petals are heart-shaped is measure about 0.6-0.7 mm long; its apex inflexed and white. There are 5 stamens. The anthers are reddish-brown while the ovary is inferior and it is densely white hairy. The stigma is spherical.

The fruit is flattened, partially spherical schizocarp, that splits into 2 hairy and 1-seeded mericarps. It is 2mm x 1mm where each mericarp is with 5 longitudinal ribs. The broad and warty trichomes are on the ribs. Each part of the fruits contains 4-6 oil ducts.

The seed is tiny, ovoid, embryo straight and endosperm is copious and grey. The seedling is with ground epigeal germination. The cotyledons are reverse lance-shaped that measure 5-15 mm x 1-2 mm, base attenuate and slightly sheathing. Its first leaf is simple, blade egg-shaped in outline and deeply divided into 3 lobes with each repeatedly incised.

Ecology / Cultivation

In Southeast Asia, T. ammi is grown on the hills, measuring up to 750 m altitude. In Ethiopia, it is cultivated at 1700-2200 m altitude, but when grown at 2000 m fruit setting is less satisfactory. The climate of Central Europe is not considered suitable for T. ammi, and cultivation ceased centuries ago, although it is still found here and there in the wild. T. ammi prefers not too heavy, loamy soils, but can be grown on all types of soils, although wet rice-growing soils are considered unsuitable as they promote vegetative development.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Trachyspermum_ammi

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.

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