Tridax Procumbens is a species of flowering plant in the Daisy family. It is best known as a widespread weed and pest plant. The plant bears daisylike yellow-centered white or yellow flowers with three-toothed ray florets. The leaves are toothed and generally arrowhead-shaped. Its fruit is a hard achene covered with stiff hairs and having a feathery, plumelike white pappus at one end. Calyx is represented by scales or reduced to pappus. The plant is invasive in part because it produces so many of these achenes, up to 1500 per plant, and each achene can catch the wind in its pappus and be carried some distance. This plant can be found in fields, meadows, croplands, disturbed areas, lawns, and roadsides in areas with tropical or semi-tropical climates. Traditionally, It has been in use in India for wound healing and as an anticoagulant, antifungal, and insect repellent. The juice extracted from the leaves is directly applied on wounds.
Tridax procumbens L.'s facts
It is listed as a noxious weed in the United States and has pest status in nine states.
Its leaf extracts were used for infectious skin diseases in folk medicines.
Has been in use in for wound healing and as an anticoagulant, antifungal, and insect repellent.
Used as treatment for boils, blisters, and cuts by local healers in parts of India.
It is found at elevations from sea level to over 2000 m, often as a weed of roadsides, waste land, fallow land and crops.
It can be used to produce essential oils.
Tridax procumbens L.'s Behavior & Ecology
Germination of T. procumbens occurs over a prolonged period and in a variable pattern. It is found that freshly harvested seeds required light for 100% germination but, after two months of burial in soil, half germinated in darkness. the highest germination rate (82%) of T. procumbens for seeds on the soil surface under diffuse light. While seeds can germinate when buried at depths of up to 4 cm in the soil, only 6% of those at 1cm actually emerged and became established. Seeds stored in soil for two years gave 7% germination in south Benin. The pappus on the achene aids water uptake from soil, promoting germination. The percentage germination of fresh seed in India was greatest at 30°C and at pH 6 to 8. Synchronous germination of high densities of seedlings results in intra-specific competition and a reduction in subsequent seedling establishment. Dry weight, plant height and leaf area index of T. procumbens are reduced by shade. In Nigeria, seedlings attain maximum increments in height and biomass after 12 weeks, after which the growth rate declines. T. procumbens forms slender, wavy taproots with many lateral branches . The branches are more abundant near the soil surface. Lateral roots angle sharply downward and are important in water and nutrient uptake. T. procumbens is a C3 plant and is a very inefficient user of water. It has a transpiration coefficient of 1402 compared with 430 for sorghum.
Tridax procumbens L.'s Reproduction
Flowering plants of T. procumbens are found year-round in Sri Lanka, but shorter flowering periods are reported for West Africa. In East Africa, flowering occurs 35 to 55 days after emergence, and seeds ripen within 3 weeks of flowering. T. procumbens is not apomictic and can be either cross- or self-pollinated. Insect pollinators include thrips, beetles, bees and butterflies. Single plants can produce 500 to 2500 seeds. The pappus is relatively small in comparison to seed weight and is not likely to aid in widespread seed dispersal.