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Snakeweed

Updated on September 3, 2012

Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta cayennensis)is considered an invasive shrub, growing to approximately two meters tall. It is a perennial plant, which means it will continue to bloom year and year again. Unfortunately, this makes the elimination of Snakeweed very hard to accomplish thoroughly. Snakeweed is common in Australia, New Zealand, and in the Southern United States as well.

Physical Features and Reproduction

Their most distinguished physical feature that identifies the weeds: small bluish-purple flowers at the end of their branches. Every flower on Snakeweed has five sepals and each flower is unisexual. “Unisexual” means the Snakeweed only has one reproduction organ, not both, per flower. “Male” flowers possess a carpel, while “female” flowers have a stamen. Reproduction is usually caused by seed dispersal from animals. Ironically, Snakeweed is not suitable for very many animals.

Toxicity

Snakeweed is a toxic plant to wild animals, if ingested. Fortunately, most animals do not consume enough of it to cause death by toxin ingestion. Usually, the only cause of animal or livestock death occurs when Snakeweed takes over another plant that is necessary for the survival of a certain species. Ingestion can, in rare cases, cause abortion in animals. Snakeweed is also linked to animals with low nutrition.

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