Ambrosia psilostachya

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Ambrosia psilostachya
Ambrosia psilostachya kz1.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Ambrosia
A. psilostachya
Binomial name
Ambrosia psilostachya
  • Ambrosia californica Rydb.
  • Ambrosia coronopifolia Torr. & A.Gray
  • Ambrosia hispida Torr.
  • Ambrosia lindheimeriana Scheele
  • Ambrosia peruviana DC. 1836 not All. 1773 nor Willd. 1805[1]
  • Ambrosia rugelii Rydb.

Ambrosia psilostachya is a species of ragweed known by the common names Cuman ragweed and perennial ragweed,[3] and western ragweed.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The plant is widespread across much of North America (United States, Canada, and northern Mexico).[4] It is also naturalized in parts of Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.[5] It is a common plant in many habitat types, including disturbed areas such as roadsides.[6][7][8][9][10]


Ambrosia psilostachya is an erect perennial herb growing a slender, branching, straw-colored stem to a maximum height near two meters, but more often remaining under one meter tall. Leaves are up to 12 centimeters long and vary in shape from lance-shaped to nearly oval, and they are divided into many narrow, pointed lobes. The stem and leaves are hairy.[6]

The top of the stem is occupied by an inflorescence which is usually a spike. The species is monoecious, and the inflorescence is composed of staminate (male) flower heads with the pistillate heads located below and in the axils of leaves.[6] This bloom period is from June through November.

The pistillate heads yield fruits which are achenes located within oval-shaped greenish-brown burs about half a centimeter long. The burs are hairy and sometimes spiny. The plant reproduces by seed and by sprouting up from a creeping rhizome-like root system.[11]

Medicinal uses[edit]

This plant had a number of medicinal uses among several different Native American tribes, including the Cheyenne, Kumeyaay (Diegueno), and Kiowa people.[12]


Ambrosia psilostachya contains a group of phytochemicals called psilostachyins.[13]


  1. ^ The International Plant Names Index
  2. ^ The Plant List Ambrosia psilostachya DC.
  3. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  4. ^ Biota of North America Program 2104 county distribution map
  5. ^ United States Department of Agriculture Plants Profile . accessed 2.14.2013
  6. ^ a b c Flora of North America Vol. 21 Page 18 Ambrosia psilostachya de Candolle in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle
  7. ^ Flora of China Vol. 20-21 Page 877 裸穗豚草 luo sui tun cao Ambrosia psilostachya Candolle
  8. ^ Tropicos, specimen listing for Ambrosia psilostachya DC
  9. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Ambrosia con spighe rade, Ambrosia psilostachya DC. includes photos and European distribution map
  10. ^ Atlas of Living Australia, Ambrosia psilostachya DC. Perennial Ragweed
  11. ^ Neill, Robert L.; Rice, Elroy L. (October 1971). "Possible Role of Ambrosia psilostachya on Pattern and Succession in Old-Fields". American Midland Naturalist. 86 (2): 344–57. doi:10.2307/2423628. JSTOR 2423628.
  12. ^ University of Michigan at Dearborn: Native American Ethnobotany of Ambrosia psilostachya . accessed 2.14.2013
  13. ^ Wan, Shiqiang; Yuan, Tong; Bowdish, Sarah; Wallace, Linda; Russell, Scott D.; Luo, Yiqi (2002). "Response of an allergenic species, Ambrosia psilostachya (Asteraceae), to experimental warming and clipping: Implications for public health". American Journal of Botany. 89 (11): 1843–6. doi:10.3732/ajb.89.11.1843. PMID 21665612.

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