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  Re: Gorgonidium vermicidium
From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2000.09.08 at 03:15:40(5377)
Dear Tshu,

Like Wilbert said, the name is because of the Medusa-like aspect of the
stamens in some species of the genus (notably G. mirabile). It is found in
Northern Argentina (Salta and Jujuy) and Bolivia (elevation ranging from
1800 to 3100m). The allusion to this supposed worm-killer activity is not
uncommon in the tribe Spathicarpeae. You also have Synandrospadix
vermitoxicus, another tuberous genus from the Southern South America that is
also reputed to kill worms. Many Spathicarpoids are very poisonous and there
are some anedoctal evidence that the indians used grated tubers of both
species in wounds infested with larvae of flies ("worms"). If it really
works, I don't know! The only thing I can assure is that most Spathicarpoids
are "homicidum", i.e., they can kill people! Never eat raw tubers of
Gorgonidium, Taccarum, Asterostigma, etc! Remember that Dieffenbachia
(dumb-cane) is phylogenetically very close to the Spathicarpoids and in fact
could be considered one of them.

Best wishes,


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