Botanical name: Spigelia anthelmia Family: Loganiaceae (Logania family)
Synonyms: Spigelia stipularis, Spigelia nervosa, Spigelia fruticulosa
Wormbush is an anual weed with stem erect, hollow, hairless. Leaves are opposite, with an apical pseudo-whorl of 2 decussate pairs, simple and entire, stipules united, broad-triangular, stalk up to 1 cm long. Leaves are ovate-oblong to ovate-lanceolate, 4-18 cm x 1-6 cm, base obtuse to cuneate, tip long-pointed. Inflorescence is a terminal or axillary spike up to 15 cm long, many-flowered; peduncle very short; bracts sepal-like. Flowers are bisexual, regular, 5-merous, sessile; sepals free, slightly unequal, 2-6 mm long, pale green. Flowers are 8-17 mm long, tube 6-15 mm long, lobes equal, triangular, 2-2.5 mm long, lilac to white, or tube white and lobes pale pink, with or without 5 pairs of reddish lines inside. Stamens are inserted just below the middle of the corolla tube, included; ovary superior, globose, glabrous, 2-celled, style slightly exserted. Fruit a capsule consisting of 2 ellipsoid parts, 4-5 mm x 5-6 mm, sharp-warty, green, lobes dehiscent with 4 valves, a boat-shaped base remaining in the persistent calyx, with warty seeds. Wormbush or pinkroot is very poisonous; it contains the alkaloid Spigeline that acts upon the heart, especially the endocardium. In large doses it debilitates the heart. Wormbush is a native of the West Indies and of South America, but is widely naturalized.
Medicinal uses: Spigelia anthelmia combats intestinal worms. Both roots and leaves are anthelminthic. In the Americas Spigelia anthelmia is said to be one of the best vermifuges, and is renowned as a medicine against spasmodic and nervous attacks. Roots of Demerara pinkroot have acro narcotic qualities (capable of producing both narcotic and irritant effects).
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The flower labeled Wormbush is ...