Dysphania ambrosioides, Epazote, Mexican tea, wormseed, Jesuit’s tea, Paico, Herba Sancti Marie
Description: annual, perennial
Place of origin: Mexico, Central and South America
Urban habitat: commonly found in disturbed places; thrives in full sun but can tolerate shade.
Ecological function: disturbance-adapted colonizer
History: Native to Mexico and Central and South America, Dysphania ambrosioides is currently found throughout the US, as well as in termperate Europe. The common name epazote is from a Mexican/Aztec dialect of the Spanish language. The plant has been used for centuries by indigenous Indian groups for medicinal purposes for treatment of intestinal parasites and many other ailments, as well as used as a spice. It is often cooked with beans to prevent flatulence. Gold/green dyes can be produced from the plant and smoke from its burning its leaves is said to repel mosquitos. Caution: oil made from the plant is toxic.