Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Eryngium foetidum

L., Sp. Pl. 232.1753

Culantro, Culantro coyote, Fitweed, Spiritweed

Glabrous herb from a stout taproot, to 60 cm tall. Leaves dimorphic; blades of basal rosette              linear-oblanceolate, rounded at apex, cuneate at base, 10-16 cm long, 2.5-4 cm wide, serrate; upper blades opposite, sessile, oblanceo­late, often tripartite, apiculate at apex, acute to obtuse at base, 2-3 cm long, 0.5-1.5 cm wide, spinulose-serrate. Flower heads dense, bracteate, cylindrical, ca 1 cm long, subtended by 5 or 6 leaflike bracts greatly exceeding the heads; flowers 5-parted, white, minute, sessile, congested, subtended by a bracteole; bracteoles narrow, exceeding the fruit; sepals widely separated, ovate, mucronate at apex, ± equaling petals; petals ca 0.5 mm long, refolded inward; stamens nearly twice as long as styles, shed with corolla after anthesis; styles 2, ca 1 mm long, somewhat spreading, exserted earlier than stamens. Fruits ± glo­bose, ca 2 mm long, conspicuously muricate. Croat 8672.

Common in the Laboratory Clearing. Flowers and fruits throughout the year, but the flowers are initiated principally in the dry season.

The plant has a foul aroma in all parts. Crushed leaves are savored by the natives as a condiment in foods. Throughout the tropics of the New World; introduced into tropical Africa. In Panama, growing in clearings and weedy areas; known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, all along the Atlantic slope, and in Panama and Darién, from tropical dry forest in Coclé and Pa­nama, from premontane moist forest in the Canal Zone, and from premontane wet forest in Chiriqui, Coclé, and Panama.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Eryngium foetidum
  • Eryngium foetidum