Achyranthes aspera

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Achyranthes aspera
Achyranthes aspera at Kadavoor.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Achyranthes
A. aspera
Binomial name
Achyranthes aspera

Achyranthes aspera (common names: chaff-flower,[1] prickly chaff flower,[2] devil's horsewhip,[3] Sanskrit: अपामार्ग apāmārga) is a species of plant in the family Amaranthaceae. It is distributed throughout the tropical world.[4] It can be found in many places growing as an introduced species and a common weed.[5] It is an invasive species in some areas, including many Pacific Islands environments.[6]


  • Habit : A wild, perennial, erect herb.
  • Stem : Herbaceous but woody below, erect, branched, cylindrical, solid, angular, hairy, longitudinally striated, nodes and internodes are prominent, green but violet or pink at nodes.
  • Leaves : Ramal and cauline, simple, exstipulate, opposite decussate, petiolate, ovate or obovate, entire, acute or acuminate, hairy all over, unicostate reticulate.
  • Inflorescence : A spike with reflexed flowers arranged on long peduncle.
  • Flowers :Bracteate , bracteolate , bracteoles two, shorter than perianth , dry, membranous and persistent, sessile, complete, hermaphrodite, actinomorphic , pentamerous, hypogynous, small, spinescent, green.
  • Bracts ovate, persistent, awned.
  • Perianth made up of 5 tepals, polyphyllous, imbricate or quincuncial, green, ovate to oblong, persistent.
  • Androecium made up of 10 stamens, out of which 5 are fertile and 5 are scale-like, fimbriated, sterile staminodes, both alternating with each other, fertile stamens are antiphyllous, monadelphous, filaments slightly fused at the base, dithecous, dorsifixed or versatile, introrse.
  • Gynoecium: it is bicarpellary, syncarpous, superior, unilocular, ovule one, basal placentation, style single and filiform, stigma capitate.
  • Fruits : Oblong utricle
  • Seeds : Endospermic with curved embryo, 2 mm long, oblong black.
  • Flowering and Fruiting time : September to April



The juice of this plant is a potent ingredient for a mixture of wall plaster, according to the Samarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra, which is a Sanskrit treatise dealing with Śilpaśāstra (Hindu precepts of art and construction).[7]

It is one of the 21 leaves used in the Ganesh Patra Pooja done regularly on Ganesh Chaturthi day.

Traditional medicine[edit]

A. aspera has been used in folk medicine in countries including Australia.[8]

The plant is used in Ayurvedic Medicine

The 1889 book The Useful Native Plants of Australia records that this plant was found "in all the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the old world. The herb is administered in India in cases of dropsy. The seeds are given in hydrophobia, and in cases of snake-bites, as well as in ophthalmia and cutaneous diseases. The flowering spikes, rubbed with a little sugar, are made into pills, and given internally to people bitten by mad dogs. The leaves, taken fresh and reduced to a pulp, are considered a good remedy when applied externally to the bites of scorpions. The ashes of the plant yield a considerable quantity of potash, which is used in washing clothes. The flowering spike has the reputation in India (Oude) of being a safeguard against scorpions, which it is believed to paralyse. (Drury.)"[8]

Chemical constituents[edit]

Achyranthes aspera contains triterpenoid saponins which possess oleanolic acid as the aglycone. Ecdysterone, an insect moulting hormone, and long chain alcohols are also found in Achyranthes aspera.[9]


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ Flowers of India
  3. ^ USDA Plants Profile
  4. ^ Flora of North America
  5. ^ "Achyranthes aspera". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  6. ^ Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk
  7. ^ Nardi, Isabella (2007). The Theory of Citrasutras in Indian Painting. Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 978-1134165230.
  8. ^ a b J. H. Maiden (1889). The useful native plants of Australia : Including Tasmania. Turner and Henderson, Sydney.
  9. ^ Indian Herbal Pharmacopia Vol. II, Page-5.

External links[edit]