Saturday, January 02, 2016

Toothache Plant

Toothache Plant
Acmella oleracea
(ak-MEL-uh) (awl-lur-RAY-see-uh)
Syns.: Spilanthes oleracea, Eyeball Plant, Para Cress

Happy New Year!!

This is a flower you don’t see very often. I have been struggling with how describe a plant that is not used or seen often. I have been using ‘rare’ but that doesn’t really describe it very well. It is also a term that is vague and a bit ambiguous. Rare can mean rare in cultivation, rare in the wild or rare in the trade. From now on I decided to use ‘less common’ to describe some of the unusual flowers I encounter.

So this less common flower is a medicinal powerhouse and has been used to treat toothache for a long time. The leaves can also add a spicy touch to salads. I don't have any experience with the numbing sensation this flower produces so please be careful when trying it.

Acmella oleracea is a tender perennial herb that is native to Brazil and parts of India. It likes to grow in sun to partial shade (out of the strong afternoon sun) and is usually grown from seed.

One thing I learned while making this post is that the species name, in this case oleracea, means edible vegetable.

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