Apang or Prickly chafflower (Achyranthes aspera, family: Amaranthaceae) is an annual herb with woody base, 1-1.5 m height. Terete to quadrangular stem is straight, hairy and not much-branched. It is considered as a crop weed in the country.
Other names: Biral achra, Bilai-khami, Chirchita, Upot lyangra, Bilai-khamchi (Bangla); Snake tail (English).
Leaves are green, simple, ovate-oblong, 10-12 cm long and 6-7 cm wide, opposite, short-petioled.
Flowers are small, green, on terminal spike inflorescence. Stamens 5, pistils 5. The inflorescence is 10-40 cm long, hard with stipules. Flowering occurs in late autumn.
Fruit is nutlet, hard with wings. Seeds are brown, sub-cylindrical. It is propagated by seeds. Dry seeds can spread in other ways besides the help of wind. By touching human or animals body they spread far beyond too.
The erect herb is a well-known folk medicinal plant in Indian subcontinent. It is mentioned in the ancient Ayurveda scriptures. Its decoction is used in stangury, dysentery, diarrhea, rheumatism, hydrophobia, jaundice, heart and skin diseases. It is also used in the worship of Hindu religion. It is found everywhere, especially in fallow land in Bangladesh. It is found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world too.