Blue Porterweed is a small shrub with tiny purple flowers. As a wild plant, it is quite common in many parts of the world including India and the
However, the variety found in India is usually regarded as S.indica. Both look almost identical and biologists are not sure whether they are the same species or not.
The shrub usually grows as a weed in plantations. It grows in abundance along the edges of fields and often overlooked. However, its medicinal properties are an answer to several ailments.
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Plant Type: Perennial Shrub
Scientific name: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis / Stachytarpheta indica
Height: 2 to 4 ft
Flowers: small, blue to purple color
English: Blue Porterweed, Blue Snakeweed
Malayalam: Seemakongini, Narivali, Narivalan
Being a small shrub, this plant usually grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet. There is an erect spike at the top of the stem on which the flowers appear. This peculiar arrangement helps to easily notice Porterweeds among other plants.
The flowers occur in groups on this spike which is about 30cm long and covered with scales. The flower is blue in color, occasionally with a purple hue. It is small in size yet beautiful and attracts butterflies.
The leaves are arranged opposite. They are oval with a glossy surface. The venations are prominent.
There are different species under the genus Stachytarpheta that look more or less the same. These include S.cayennensis (Dark Blue Porterweed), S.indica, S.jamaicensis (Light Blue). The flowers of S.cayennensis are darker than the other two. Based on that I think the photo I got is that of the latter.
Also known as Blue Snakeweed or Indian Snakeweed, its local name in Malayalam is Seemakongini. In some places, it is also called Narivali or Narivalan. This may be due to the resemblance of its stem to the tail of Jackal.
There is also an alba variety with white flowers although it is not common.
Since the plant contains several phytochemicals, it may possess several medicinal values. So far it has been common among traditional and folk medicines for curing different illnesses including fever and allergies.
It is a tropical plant. Different species of Stachytarpheta are found in the Americas, India, and Australia. In India, Snakeweeds are common in the southern states.