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Lippia alba facts for kids

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Lippia alba
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Scientific classification

Lippia alba is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family, Verbenaceae, that is native to southern Texas in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The species is also present in Australia and India, where it is probably a human introduction. Common names include bushy matgrass, bushy lippia, hierba negra, and pitiona. It is a multi-branched shrub, reaching a height of 1.5 m (4.9 ft). Leaves measure 1 to 3 cm (0.39 to 1.18 in) in length and 0.9 to 2 cm (0.35 to 0.79 in) in width and are opposite or in threes. Flowers with white, pink, or light blue-purple corollas form on spikes 2 cm (0.79 in) long.


Bushy lippia is widely cultivated as an ornamental for its aromatic foliage and beautiful flowers. The essential oil composition is unique to each plant, but may include piperitone, geranial, neral, caryophyllene, camphor, eucalyptol, limonene, carvone, germacrene, α-guaiene, β-ocimene, linalool, or myrcene. The leaves are used for flavoring foods, such as mole sauces from Oaxaca, Mexico. The plant is used medicinally for its somatic, sedative, antidepressant, and analgesic properties.

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