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.