On a bright October morning we drove to a plant nursery for my relentless search for multi-functional natives and exotics to add to the chaitraban-plants database. This place was highly recommended by friends and it did live up to it’s reputation. It was like a one-stop-shop for native trees and plants and I was glad I did make the trip. Among the many useful plants we picked up there was this one plant that I had been in search of for many months – Akkalkaadha (in Marathi).
Akkalkaadha is Toothache plant in English and its botanical name is Acmella oleracea (Sp. Spilanthes Calva). For me till then, it was a medicinal plant with many uses (I did not know which till then) and pretty flowers. They would look beautiful on the borders of walkways, between the perennial veggies at Chaitraban, I had decided.
Now that we had the plant, further research confirmed many medicinal uses of the plant. We found that it was also used in cooking in Brazil. The most important discovery was that it is a pest repellent! It is used on the borders and between crops as a prevention tactic against white grubs that infest some croplands, especially vegetable crops in Uttarakhand in the North of India.
Now, to the plant palette of Chaitraban, we have an addition of yet another multifunctional pretty plant, used as
A culinary addition
A pest repellent
An attractor for bees, butterflies and birds
Maybe, like always, Mother Nature will throw in a few more surprises when it is planted in the diverse and abundant landscape of Chaitraban!