Asam lota or Bitter vine, Mikania micrantha

Asam lota or Bitter vine (Mikania micrantha, family: Asteraceae) is a perennial extensive climber. It can be easily found in fallow lands, crop fields and roadside areas in Bangladesh. It is an invasive species. Usually with the help of a tree it climbed up. In case of small tree it does serious damage.

Other names: Bharoti-lota, Rabon lota, Tara-lota. 

Leaves are opposite, green, ovate to cordate, edge sometimes uneven, sometimes wavy, petiole long, sometimes dark green, sometimes pale. The size of the vine or its leaves differ on the basis of soil fertility.

Branched inflorescence comes out from leaf axil. Flower is white or pale white. Each branch contains three to four white flowers. Numerous branches occurs together. Therefore, the flower cluster seems quite large. 

It spreads quickly in rainy season. So it causes serious damage to crops then. Especially it does a great damage to Sal forest and Tea plantation. Although it is quite effective to prevent soil erosion. 

Fruit is pentagonal, called achene. Its propagation is caused by seeds. In such a way the smart creeper stays with green leaves that it cannot easily be seen. The leaves and young branches are the favourite meal of cattle. 

Its leaves and branch contain protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A, B and C. Leaves are used in pain, allergy and itching. People of Africa eat its leaves as vegetables.


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