Mysterious plants although they are said weeds

Scientific name: Houttuynia cordate Thunb(I don’t now what this Thunb mean)

Family name: Houttuynia cordate

Genus name: Houttuynia cordate

Flower season:  May~ July

Distribution: center to east Asia, Himalaya, south-east Asia, Japan’s mainland, and Okinawa

Quick look at the contents

1: introduction

2: their smell

3: reproduction

4: conclusion

5: reference

1: introduction

I think you had heard Chinese medicine or herb once. This plant has been used for it. Though fishy story, it is said they are intended to treat intestinal disorder, diuretic effect, and antidote effect. Ah, of course

Don’t eat them.

If you had constipation, you would like to get rid of it.

Take a laxative.

Anyway, where to say?

Dokudami tea

Some say this plant have cosmetic effects. I doubt their opinions.

Quote from 「どくだみ茶で有名などくだみの効用・副作用とは?驚愕の効能性を紹介!」

2: their smell

English have many words to represent smell. Good or bad smell, perfume, scent, fragrance, pungent, odor and stink. But, even if English, their smells can be decided one word.

Yes. they are really stink at least I feel.

Its characteristic smell is guessed aldehyde or alcohol which have more than ten carbon (decan). For instance, n-decyl aldehyde, lauryl aldehyde (have twelve carbon), methyl lauryl sulfide (have sulfur) …

Eh? what is aldehyde? Well…read organic chemistry book. In a word, it is changed alcohol.

Japanese sake

Can you hold your liquor? In fact, getting drunk relate acetaldehyde not alcohol.

Quote from 「日本酒-Wikipedia」

Below digression. If you are not interested in physics, just ignore.

Have you ever thought why scientists can get to know what compose of any material?

I mean, how they can analyze components?

Well…I had question how they know components of natural gas, like invisible things.

Furthermore, how they can analyze organic chemistry though there are many similar ingredients.

One part of answer is there are methods to analyze.

For example, mass spectrometry, to know molecular formula, is used in baggage inspection in airport. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, to know map of carbon-hydrogen bond components, is applied to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

There are other methods, but please allow me to skip. Discussion would be too strayed from main.

If you had interests, look up them by internets or books. Also, it may be interest to ask teacher.


There was one who wrote about MRI in spite of his main topic was biology.

Quote from 「核磁気共鳴画像法-Wikipedia」

3: reproduction

This is most mysterious points. As long as I search the written record thoroughly, they have different views.

Flower and fruits

Left up enlarge fruit. Right up stamen and pistils. Center seeds

Quote from 「ドクダミ―松江の花図鑑」

it consists of three stamen and three pistils though number of them are changeable website or illustrated book (some material say they have six stamen and six pistils. At least above picture show each of three).

You think petals are white, don’t you? In fact, these white things are bract. Have no petals. These surrounded around flower’s main. Similar plants are dogwood and skunk cabbage.

I guessed these white pigments are air bubbles. Like spray, they reflect lights, so you see white.

Eh? You can’t grasp the meanings pistil and bract or something? Uh-handwriting OK?

Wonderful flower art

It is secret how many times to draw this picture.

So, mysterious points. In Japan, these are known for tough weed. What worse, they are gregarious plants. Shortly, they have high fertility rate and strong lives.

gregarious plants

Heart shape leaves are Houttuynia cordate. If you leave it in your garden, it become colony of them.

As you know, almost plants are sexual reproduction. You see, pollen stick to pistil to be pollinated. So that their offsprings can appear.

However, this plant, Houttuynia cordate reproduction is parthenogenesis though they have reproductive part. Parthenogenesis is bit difficult technical term isn’t it? Normally, an egg is fertilized by sperm (for plants pollen and pistil relationship). But they don’t have to fertilize. They can remain their offsprings by unfertilized egg. Some say they expand by subterranean stem (easy word is root I think)

It is said their seeds are nearly no meaning.

Gather these writes, they are asexual reproduction-like.


Do you know these beautiful pinks are not petals?

Quote from 花のふしぎ100 花の仲間はどうして一斉に咲きほこるの? タネづくりに秘めた植物たちの工夫とは?

Do you remember they are tough? Maybe you notice my question, I think it seems contradicting tough and parthenogenesis. Moreover, there is no meaning to broom flower. Because they need not transfer their pollens by insects or something.

In addition, I think parthenogenesis is disadvantageous to sudden change environment.

Nevertheless, they are strong, they are persistent.

4: conclusion

This is something relate science topic so, please endure my dull conclusion.

Houttuynia cordate are strong though they are parthenogenesis. Why do they bloom flower? Why can they live? I will leave these questions because I don’t know why.

But at least their stinks are living protection, I guess.

There are many margins to discuss their ecology.

Below what I say is just my impression and has no great significance (I found funny form of a character).

Science is interesting subject. I would be grateful if you get to a fragment of interest.

I feel it is very difficult to compose entertain and easy scientific article. Difficult term (please don’t say you don’t have to use them, do you.), poor drawing ability (it is no meaning for me to ask to the moon!), boring story (I did my best!)

Anyway, What I want to say best is science are full of mystery and interesting!

So, that’s all this article.

5: reference 「薬用植物総合データベース 植物詳細 ドクダミ」

NIBIOHN薬用植物資源研究センター | 国立研究開発法人 医薬基盤・健康・栄養研究所 「ドクダミ―岡山理科大学」

花のふしぎ100 花の仲間はどうして一斉に咲きほこるの? タネづくりに秘めた植物たちの工夫とは?p34~p35,p138~p151

Author 田中修

Publish ソフトバンク クリエイティブcorporation

The first impression of the first edition published in October 24, 2009


Supervisor 藤井伸二

Author 高橋修

Publish ナツメ社 corporation

The fifth edition published in July 10, 2015 「ドクダミの精油成分について」

Author 亀岡弘 三宅昭雄 平尾子之吉 

日本化学会誌 1997 p1157~p1160

マクマリー有機化学概説 (seventh edition) p434~p449


Translator 伊東椒 児玉光明


Publish 東京化学同人corporation

The first impression of the seventh edition published in December 1, 2017

スター生物学(original of the fourth edition)p293,p294


Publisher 小澤美奈子

Publish 東京化学同人corporation

The fourth edition published in September 30, 2017