Skunkvine Facts

Skunkvine Facts
Skunkvine is twining vine that belongs to the coffee family. It originates from eastern and southeastern Asia, but it can be found in the warm areas around the world today. Skunkvine grows in disturbed areas, on the sandhills, along the roads, in the mixed forests, floodplains, marshes and even under the water. It is rarely cultivated in ornamental purposes because of its unpleasant smell. Skunkvine easily occupies new areas and prevents growth of native plant species. It is classified as weed in most countries outside Asia.
Interesting Skunkvine Facts:
Skunkvine is woody vine with green, purplish or reddish-brown stem that can reach 30 feet in length.
Skunkvine grows by crawling on the ground, or by climbing over the trees and shrubs. It produces mechanical damage on the host plants and leaves understory plants in semi-darkness.
Skunkvine has oval to lance-shaped leaves with pointed tips. Leaves are oppositely arranged on the stem or rarely gathered in whorls of three. They are green colored, either smooth or hairy.
Skunkvine produces small, grayish-pink or lilac flowers arranged in long, curved clusters. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Skunkvine blooms all year round in tropical areas, or during the late summer and fall in areas with colder climate. Flowers attract different types of bees, which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of skunkvine is shiny, yellowish-brown, round drupe. Each drupe is filled with two black seeds covered with white, needle-like crystals.
Skunkvine is valuable source of food for birds which facilitate dispersal of seed in the wild.
Skunkvine propagates via seeds and division of the root.
Chrysomelid leaf beetles, which consume leaves, and flea beetles, which consume root and root hairs of skunkvine, are used to eradicate this plant from occupied areas.
Scientific name of the skunkvine is "Paederia foetida". Name literally means "stinking opals" and it refers to the foul smell that leaves and stem emit and translucent, opal-like fruit that this plant produces.
High concentration of sulfur compounds in the leaves of skunkvine is responsible for the fetid smell of this plant, which is also known as "human gas vine" in Japan.
Leaves of skunkvine are rich source of beta carotene and vitamin C. They have slightly bitter taste, but they can be safely consumed in human diet (both fresh and thermally processed). Skunkvine is often used for the preparation of soups and dishes made of rice.
Leaves of skunkvine were used as a source of fibers in the past.
Leaves of skunkvine can be used to relieve pain and symptoms of dysentery and diarrhea. Leaf juice mixed with garlic can be used in treatment of arthritis, while juice from the root can improve digestion.
Skunkvine is perennial plant (life span: more than 2 years).

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