Although not declared a pest plant under the Queensland legislation, the snake weed, or Stachytarpheta, is known to invade roadsides and disturbed land, and can be invasive to pastures in wetter areas.
Known for its tough, branched stems and woody roots, the weed is edible and even medicinal, where the young leaves may be eaten raw as in salads, or cooked as a pot herb due to its richness in vitamin B1 and riboflavin.
Commonly used as an alternative medicine for asthma, bronchitis, fever and bladder problems, the snake weed is also known to cause a natural aversion to tobacco.
The name “snake weed” is thought to be derived from its alleged anti-venom properties, where heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings and swellings, and is believed to promote healing without scars.
In Native American folklore, the powdered roots of the snake weed were carried as a protection against snake bites.
last update by M 12/7/2012