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Plant of the Day 3: Tithonia diversifolia by gentleshaid

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· @gentleshaid ·
$8.96
Plant of the Day 3: Tithonia diversifolia
<div class="text-justify">

I started a series a few days ago where I talk about plants that grow in Nigeria, be it exotic or native. Exotic plants are the ones that do not grow in an area naturally, but they were introduced from where they naturally grow. Native plants, on the other hand, are plants that grow naturally in a particular area. Today's episode is the third in the series, you can read the first and the second series [here](https://steemit.com/zzan/@gentleshaid/plant-of-the-day-1-the-breadfruit) and [here](https://steemit.com/zzan/@gentleshaid/plant-of-the-day-2-anthocleista-djalonesis) respectively.

If you happen to ply most major and minor Nigerian roads, the image of the plant below should be quite familiar to you.

<center>![20190710_123044.jpg](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmYVcUY4HWr9qzBfVKcNV5nRCbzzt5bjtbjmZNxdoz9ShU/20190710_123044.jpg)</center>

The plant seems to have taken over the roadscapes of the Nigerian roads, killing off competitions from other plants. Locally, the plant is referred to as *sepeleba* (Meaning, curse fever) among the Yoruba speaking tribe of Nigeria but the more common English name is Mexican sunflower which connotes that the nativity of the plant in South America. Scientifically, the plant is known as *Tithonia diversifolia*.

Exotic plant species, if they eventually survive have been reported to often end up outcompeting the local/native species and end up displacing the latter from their natural habitats. *T. diversifolia* is a good example to reinforce this theory. While growing up in Nigeria, a completely different but native plant species known locally as *akintola* and scientifically as *Chromolaena odorata* use to dominate the vegetation around the various roads.

Tithonia probably got introduced into Nigeria as a result of its numerous ethnobotanical uses and since then, it has gradually spread and eventually taken over the entire horizon. Hardly can anyone walk a few steps along any major or minor motorable ways in Nigeria without encountering this plant.

<center>![20190710_123147.jpg](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmf32BFjMqFcsT9bGVjRHdqD77PobVDGbK5WBoiWZkYS6A/20190710_123147.jpg)</center>

Interestingly, my undergraduate research project was on this plant and one of the properties that made it such a bully among other plants. The property involves the capacity of the plant to produce chemicals that limit the growth of other plants within a certain radius from where it is growing. This property is specifically known as allelopathic property while the chemical produced is referred to as allelochemicals.

The plant belongs to Asteraceae flowering plant family, the same family with sunflower. It grows as a shrub to a maximum height of 2-3 m and produces flowers similar to that of sunflower. It usually flowers towards the end of the rainy season, hence, I could not get an image of its flowering because we are currently at the peak of the rainy season in Nigeria.

<center>![20190710_123142.jpg](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmZGLMDnY56u7ro9vxUoq8EPuL6DwzE965ScxRggV37LR3/20190710_123142.jpg)</center>

*T diversifolia* has been a major plant of research among plant scientists within and outside Nigeria perhaps due to its ability to spread over a large area within a short period. During the course of this research, a lot of ethnobotanical uses of the plant were discovered. Apart from its ornamental use due to its beautiful flower, the aqueous extract is locally utilized in the treatment of fever.

In addition, it has been reported in some medical cases to be used as an anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-oxidant agent among several other uses. If you really wish to see some publications about the leaves of this plant and its various potentials, I suggest you head [here](https://www.science.gov/topicpages/t/tithonia+diversifolia+leaves).

Thank you for reading.

*All images used were taking using Samsung Galaxy A Tab(2016)*
 </div>

### Further resources

* http://www.academicjournals.org/app/webroot/article/article1380379618_Oyewole%20et%20al.pdf
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tithonia_diversifolia
* Di Giacomo, C., Vanella, L., Sorrenti, V., Santangelo, R., Barbagallo, I., Calabrese, G., … Acquaviva, R. (2015). Effects of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray extract on adipocyte differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells. PloS one, 10(4), e0122320. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122320
* https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306000077_Effects_of_Aqueous_Shoot_Extract_of_Tithonia_diversifolia_on_the_Growth_of_Seedlings_of_Monodora_tenuifolia_Benth_Dialium_guineense_Willd_and_Hildegardia_barteri_Mast_Kosterm
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@steem-plus ·
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@tomlee ·
Why am I seeing this leave for the first time...lol!

Don't see it often down here in Akwa Ibom!
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@steemstem ·
re-gentleshaid-plant-of-the-day-3-tithonia-diversifolia-20190712t052554029z
<div class='text-justify'> <div class='pull-left'> <center> <br /> <img width='200' src='https://res.cloudinary.com/drrz8xekm/image/upload/v1553698283/weenlqbrqvvczjy6dayw.jpg'> </center>  <br/> <br /></div> 

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@abigail-dantes · (edited)
$0.11
s9zijewbw
Shaid &#10084; :)

What a lovely style for a post! Not only have you shared your knowledge with us, but you have also shared your views and a tiny bit of your whereabouts :) The Mexican Sunflower plant is beautiful! Soon after I finish typing this comment I am going to google it, as I am now interested in seeing its flower. 

I bought a book back in May which I have been reading on and off rather slowly. In it I read that trees are incredibly social beings (which made me smile). Something which, in turn, made your description of the Sunflower plant  as a 'bully' much more meaningful to me. 

Much, much love to you from warm portugal :*
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@gentleshaid ·
$0.06
Thank you Abii for the wonderful comment. It always a good day when you come around one's blog like this. I just decided to evolve my writing style a bit. Yes, plants are social beings in that they actually interact when they stay close to one another far more than humans interact. If you have seen sunflowers before, you won't miss the flowers of Tithonia, you can almost mistake them for each other if care is not taken. Tithonia is a beauty to behold when they in flowering.

Thanks for showing me so much love all the way from Portugal. I hope the family reunion went well. I will contact you for the full gist. Say me well to your family!
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@abigail-dantes ·
&#128536;
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@utopian-io ·
#### Hi @gentleshaid!

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@verifyme ·
@gentleshaid You have received a 100% upvote from @botreporter because this post did not use any bidbots and you have not used bidbots in the last 30 days!

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@alexander.alexis · (edited)
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> produces flowers similar to that of sunflower. It usually flowers towards the end of the rainy season, hence, I could not get an image of its flowering

Since you don't seem to mind piquing our curiosity, least you could do is get us an img from google! :P
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