Muthil (Centella Asiatica)

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Centella asiatica, commonly known as Gotu kolakodavanIndian pennywort and Asiatic pennywort, is a herbaceousperennial plant in the flowering plant family Apiaceae. It is native to wetlands in the Caucasus, Tropical & Subtropical Old World to New Zealand and the West Pacific. It is used as a culinary vegetable and as a medicinal herb.

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Centella grows in temperate and tropical swampy areas in many regions of the world. The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish-green in color, connecting plants to each other. It has long-stalked, green, rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles,[clarification needed] around 2 cm (0.79 in). The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.

The flowers are white or crimson in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size, less than 3 mm (0.12 in), with five to six corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit. The crop matures in three months, and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually. It is a highly invasive plant, rated as “high risk”. Centella has numerous common names in its regions of distribution.

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