Alternanthera caracasana Kunth

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Alternanthera caracasana

Photo: Bart Wursten
Borrowdale Common

Alternanthera caracasana

Photo: Bart Wursten
Borrowdale Common

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Synonyms: Alternanthera peploides (Schult.) Britton
Common names: Paperthorn (English)
Frequency: Frequent
Status: Introduced
Much-branched, prostrate, mat-forming perennial with a vertical rootstock but also rooting at the lower nodes. Flowers off-white and hairy.
Notes: NOTE: Alternanthera pungens and A. caracasana are similar prostrate species growing in similar habitats, often together. Apart from the key characters, the flowering heads of A. pungens are much more spiny to the touch (as a result of the longer awns on the tepals and bracteoles) than A. caracasana. The species Guilleminea densa is also superficially similar, has the same prostrate habit and grows in similar places but differs from the two species of Alternanthera in having inflorescences which are not prickly to the touch. It also differs in having dense woolly hairs on the underside of the prostrate mat, which the two species of Alternanthera do not.
Derivation of specific name: caracasana: of Caracas, Venezuela
Habitat: On roadsides, waste ground, lawns; apparently thriving in places where it is trodden upon.
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native of tropical America; widespread introduction in tropical Africa
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Friday 12 January 2007

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 20.

Townsend, C.C. (1988). Amaranthaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(1) Pages 125 - 127. (Includes a picture).


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Other sources of information about Alternanthera caracasana:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Alternanthera caracasana
Flora of Malawi: Alternanthera caracasana
Flora of Zambia: Alternanthera caracasana

External websites:

African Plant Database: Alternanthera caracasana
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Alternanthera caracasana
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Alternanthera caracasana
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Alternanthera caracasana
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Alternanthera caracasana
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Alternanthera caracasana
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Alternanthera caracasana
Ispot Southern Africa : Alternanthera caracasana
JSTOR Plant Science: Alternanthera caracasana
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Alternanthera caracasana
Tropicos: Alternanthera caracasana
West African Plants database: Alternanthera caracasana

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Alternanthera caracasana., retrieved 25 October 2016

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