AppearanceThis plant is a spreading herb or groundcover, reaching 600 mm in height or up to 1 m if supported. The stems root easily at the nodes. The leaves are simple and opposite. The fruit is an explosive capsule which starts out green in colour, but dries to brown after opening.
Naming* ''A. g. gangetica'', has larger blue or mauve flowers.
⤷ ''A. g. micrantha'' Ensermu, has smaller white flowers with purple markings on the lower lip.
DistributionWidespread throughout the Old World Tropics, and introduced into tropical Americas and Hawaii, where it has become naturalized. Both subspecies of this plant have been introduced to Australia where ''A. g. micrantha'' is on the National Environmental Alert List and must be reported when found. The original range of the subspecies is unclear, but it is likely that ''A. g. gangetica'' was limited to Asia, and ''A. g. micrantha'' was limited to Africa.
ReproductionErnest Akamine found that there were no apparent dormancy mechanisms operating in the seeds, which germinated freely 135 days after being expelled from parent plants. Flower production can begin as early as 40 days after germination, with seed development beginning after 57 days, facilitating the production of viable seed in as little as 72 days. The seeds are then expelled explosively upon ripening via hooked retinacula .
UsesIn some parts of Africa, the leaves are eaten as a vegetable and used as an herbal remedy in traditional African medicine. The leaves are used in many parts of Nigeria as a traditional African medicine for the management of asthma. It is also used as an ornamental plant.
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