Traditional uses and benefits of Duck Lettuce

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Duck Lettuce Quick Facts
Name: Duck Lettuce
Scientific Name: Ottelia alismoides
Origin Africa, Asia, northern Australia, and the Pacific
Shapes Ribbed, ellipsoid to ovoid, rarely cylindrical fruits, 2.5 to 4 centimeters long and 1-2 cm wide with a beaked tip
Health benefits Support hemorrhoids, fever, abscesses of the breasts, cancer, ulcers, burns, bilateral tuberculosis of the cervical lymph glands.
Duck Lettuce scientifically known as Ottelia alismoides is a submersed fresh aquatic herbaceous plant belonging to Hydrocharitaceae (Tape-grass family). The plant is native to Africa, Asia, northern Australia, and the Pacific. In China, it is distributed in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Fujian Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangsu and Henan. Apart from Duck Lettuce it is also known as Water-plantain ottelia and ottelia. Its common name, duck lettuce, comes from the strong resemblance the leaves of O. alismoides bears to lettuce leaves. It reproduces solely by seeds, is slow to spread, and is generally not considered a top invasive plant in the United States. It is, however, a Federally Listed Noxious Weed. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is grown in ponds, where it helps to keep the water clear, and is also sometimes grown as an aquarium plant.

Duck Lettuce Facts

Name Duck Lettuce
Scientific Name Ottelia alismoides
Native Africa, Asia, northern Australia, and the Pacific. In China, it is distributed in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Fujian Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan
Common Names Duck lettuce, Water-plantain ottelia, ottelia
Name in Other Languages Arabic: Uwtilia mizmaria  (أوتليا مزمارية)
Assamese: Hentepa/ Kechoir/ Panikola, Panikola
Bengali: Parmikalla, Pānikalā (পানিকলা), Ram korola, Kaobali, Torukola, Shyamkola, Kuchkolai, Jol-kolosh, Pani-kolosh, Jol-kola
Chinese: Shui bai cai, Lung she ts’ao, Shui che qian, Long she cao, Shuǐ chēqiáncǎo (水車前草), Lóng shé cǎo (龙舌草)
Dutch: Duikerbloem
English: Duck lettuce, Water-plantain ottelia, ottelia
French: Ottélie
German: Froschlöffelähnliche Ottelie
India: Pokok kelur, Dainithalir
Italian: Erba coltella delle risaie, mestolaccia falsa, ottelia
Japanese: Mizu-ôba-Ko (ミズオオバコ), mizuô-bako (ミズオウバコ), ômizu-ôbako (オウミズオウバコ)
Kannada: Hasiru neeru paathre, Kottigenau balli, ga neun ip mul jil gyeong I (가는잎물질경이)
Korean: Mul jil gyeong (물질경이)
Malay: Keladi ayer, Kreboboth
Malayalam: Ottel-ambel, oṭṭeliya alismēāyiḍes  (ഒട്ടെലിയ അലിസ്മോയിഡെസ്)
Manipuri: Lairenchak
Marathi: Olek alsem, Bhat(Rice)-kamal
Min Dong: Liék-siĕk-chāu
Myanmar: Ye-hnyi
Netherlands: Duikerbloem
Russian: otteliya chastukhovidnaya (оттелия частуховидная)
Spanish: Espada, Tangila
Swedish: Ottelia
Tamil: Nirkkuliri
Telugu: Edukula thaamara, Neeru veniki
Thai:  Santawa, S̄ạntawā bı phāy (สันตะวาใบพาย)
Plant Growth Habit Short-stemmed, robust, completely submersed, rooted, aquatic herbaceous plant
Growing Climates Shallow fresh water of lakes and bayous, slow-moving streams, stagnant pools, on a muddy bottom, along lake shorelines, marsh ponds, irrigation ditches and stream margins in water and in rice field
Root Roots are fibrous
Stem Small and corm-like, occasionally forked, with fibrous roots
Leaf Leaf blades of the submerged leaves are often narrow; the floating ones are ovate or somewhat rounded, with a rounded or often heart-shaped base, 7 to 22 centimeters long and 4.5 to 21 cm wide
Flower Small terminal flower is held on a long peduncle which projects it above the surface of the water. The flower may open fully even when still submersed. Sepals are 1-1.5 cm long. Flowers have obovate petals 2-3 cm long, that range from white to pinkish in color with bright yellow anthers
Fruit Shape & Size Ribbed, ellipsoid to ovoid, rarely cylindrical fruits, 2.5 to 4 centimeters long and 1-2 cm wide with a beaked tip
Plant Parts Used Leaves, flowers
Propagation By seed or sucker separation

Plant Description

Duck Lettuce is a short-stemmed, robust, completely submersed, rooted, aquatic herbaceous plant native to the rice fields of southeastern Asia, but has naturalized to Louisiana, California, and more recently Missouri and Florida. The plant is found growing in shallow fresh water of lakes and bayous, slow-moving streams, stagnant pools, on a muddy bottom, along lake shorelines, marsh ponds, irrigation ditches and stream margins in water and in rice field. Stem is small and corm-like, occasionally forked, with fibrous roots.

Leaves

Leaves are extremely variable, with short or long petioles, according to the depth of the water. Leaf blades of the submerged leaves are often narrow; the floating ones are ovate or somewhat rounded, with a rounded or often heart-shaped base, 7 to 22 centimeters long and 4.5 to 21 cm wide. The veins in the leaves run parallel. Leaf-margins are entire or denticulate.

Flowers

The small terminal flower is held on a long peduncle which projects it above the surface of the water. The flower may open fully even when still submersed. Sepals are 1-1.5 cm long. Flowers have obovate petals 2-3 cm long, that range from white to pinkish in color with bright yellow anthers. They bloom from spring through summer.

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by ribbed, ellipsoid to ovoid, rarely cylindrical fruits, 2.5 to 4 centimeters long and 1-2 cm wide with a beaked tip. It can produce up to 2000 seeds. Duck Lettuce reproduces only by seed. Seeds are narrowly cylindric, 0.9–1.3 mm. long and 0.3–0.5 mm. wide, dark purple to black, with longitudinal striations.

Traditional uses and benefits of Duck Lettuce

  • Leaves used as arm and leg poultices in fever.
  • Leaves are used as topical for hemorrhoids.
  • Leaves used for snake bites.
  • The leaves are antibacterial, febrifuge and rubefacient.
  • In Assam, India, flower paste taken orally early morning for curing hemorrhoids.
  • In Tamil Nadu, India, leaves used to treat hemorrhoids.
  • The Bodo community in Assam, India, use a decoction of ground leaves mixed with shoots of Ipomoea aquatica, Allium sativum, Lasia spinosa, Ocimum sanctum, Centella asiatica, and Typha angustata for the treatment of pneumonia.
  • In China, plant prepared as paste and applied to abscesses of the breasts, cancer, ulcers and burns.
  • Leaves used to check bleeding.
  • In West Bengal, India, paste of dry seeds used externally on boils for relief of burning sensation.
  • Dry leaf powder applied externally for various skin ailments.
  • Plant is used in the treatment of hemorrhoids and applied as the poultice against fever.
  • An extract of the plant cured two cases of bilateral tuberculosis of the cervical lymph glands within 3 months.
  • The stem and leaf mash can be applied to cure ulcer, soup fire burn, etc.

Culinary Uses

  • The petioles and leaves are eaten as a vegetable with excellent flavor.
  • The leaves are used in Thailand for seasoning rice.
  • The fruit is also edible.

Other Facts

  • Seeds may remain viable for up to four years.
  • Plants are used to improve the water quality in fish ponds by capturing floating mud particles.
  • It is also grown as an aquarium plant.
  • The plant is often regarded locally as a troublesome aquatic weed and removed manually.

References:

http://www.stuartxchange.com/Kalabua.html

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=38976#null

http://www.hear.org/pier/species/ottelia_alismoides.htm

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/OTEAL

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottelia_alismoides

https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=4619

https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1113

http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Duck%20Lettuce.html

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/230552

https://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=OTAL

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Ottelia+alismoides

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/38087

https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=OTAL

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