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An unidentified weed

December 27, 2010

From discussions with experts we conclude this is Drymaria diandra.

Tem Smitinand lists it as synonymous with D. cordata, and Flora of Thailand 5:4 page 413 only lists this one species (the entire Caryophyllaceae family is covered in 11 pages, quite different from the many species in Europe and North America).

Apparently the leaves are edible, but since it trails on the ground I would not eat it raw. At Dokmai Garden it is a true shade plant, not competitive in the sun, preferring a moist habitat such as in a nursery. A characteristic trait is the roots formed at the nodes, making it hard to weed among brick floors. Its range encompass most of the tropics.

The Chiang Mai name is ‘ya klet hoi’. ‘Ya’ means weed, ‘klet’ means fish scale. Maybe there is a ‘Ya klet’, and then people added ‘hoi’ which means snail to distinguish it from another weed? The ‘fish scale’ alludes to the leaf morphology.

There are numerous English names for this species involving ‘chickweed’, which is usually a Stellaria. I guess ‘tropical chickweed’ which some people use is descriptive enough.

Eric Danell

2 Comments leave one →
  1. tomo permalink
    December 28, 2010 4:20 AM

    it’s hard to tell from the picture, but potentially is a member of dichondra.

    if so, some don’t like them;

    while others find useful;

    i used the silver-leaf variety for landscaping a lot in austin texas (zone 8b); it took very little water in both sun/shade and was smothered other weed. forms beautiful background for specimen plants like palm, yucca, bulb flowers, etc.

    • December 28, 2010 9:30 AM

      Dear Tomo,

      Yes, my picture is lousy and yes Dichondra would be an excellent suggestion until you see the flowers (typical greenish blossom of the chickweed family, Caryophyllaceae). I failed to depict them. Dichondra (Convolvulaceae) is not listed in Thailand, and their leaves are thicker than in Drymaria.

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