Alternanthera sessilis, to the world known as sessile joyweed, dwarf copper leaf is native to Brazil and a common plant in many tropic and subtropical regions throughout the world.

This perennial plant prefers wet conditions but occurs in both wetlands and uplands and can grow under a variety of soil conditions. The plant is an erect, more or less branched, glabrous, succulent herb that grows up to 1 m tall.

This plant has some beneficial characteristics. Mukunuwenna is one of our staple food. It is considered a leafy vegetable although it looks more like a herb (such as parsley) than well known leafy vegetables (such as spinach or cabbage).

Commonly called "Mukunuwenna" it is the most widely produced and consumed leafy vegetable in Sri Lanka - the most popular of nine leafy vegetables cultivated and sold on a commercial scale in Sri Lanka. It is easy and inexpensive to cultivate, damage during transport is minimal and once cultivated it can be harvested on a monthly basis for about two years. Sri Lankans believe that this vegetable contains high levels of vitamins, protein and fibre and consume the plant several times per week. The plants are shredded finely and stir fried with grated coconut and spices, to be eaten with rice.

A wild plant that looks much like the edible local Mukunuwenna has been found growing wild on farms and sold in the market.

The plant, popularly known as “Southern American Alligator Weed”, has been detected growing on land dedicated to Mukunuwenna cultivation. Cause for concern is the fact that the plant is believed to be harmful to animals and possibly humans.

Tags - Mukunuwenna,Mukunuwanna,Medical Plants,Medicine,Ayurweda

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