Saturday, June 30, 2018
While I go for my early morning or evening walk, I observe many kinds of plants – big and small all along the way. One of the small categories, about 50 to 100 cm tall green plants with full of tiny white flowers does not escape my eyes. They are in thousands growing happily all along the road and also in plots where no house is constructed so far. Residential colonies are invaded by these plants which are called Parthenium causing diseases like dermatitis and asthma. Along with this, many other unwanted plants grouped as weeds also grow, flower and die. They are the annual plants botanically termed as Parthenium hysterophorus and popularly known as Congress Grass or Carrot Weed. It belongs to the botanical family Asteracae.
It appears that Parthenium is not native to India, but it came with the imported wheat as a mixture, when the US sent wheat to India under PL 480 (Public Law 480 passed 1964 to give food grains to developing countries) in 1956. However, this concept was contradicted by some as not the real story because Parthenium was present in India even in 1951itself. Whatever may be the source of this nasty weed, the tiny seeds spread throughout the country. In general, weeds grow widely in waste lands, fields and field bunds. Controlling them is a stupendous task for weed scientists and farmers. Parthenium is very difficult to eradicate. So far no single method appears to be satisfactory.
Since the regeneration capacity of this weed is very high, even the mechanical eradication like cutting or slashing did not work. Removal by hand or hoe at the pre-flowering stage is one of the physical methods of eradication recommended. But there are other methods too. Weed killing chemicals are sprayed on the land to kill the weed seeds or on the post-emergence stage of the weeds. One of the potent chemical used was the sodium salt of 2,4–dichlorophenoxy acetic acid popularly called 2,4–D which acts as a plant hormone at homeopathic dose, whereas at high concentration it kills plants. Such chemicals are grouped as herbicide or weedicide.
Large-scale usage of herbicides are followed at the US, Australia and many other advanced countries but only limited quantity is being used in developing countries like India. These herbicides are specific for certain plant species. For example, dicot plants are generally susceptible to all herbicides whereas the monocots – the grass family cannot be eradicated by most of them. Fortunately, Parthenium is a dicot plant amenable a variety of herbicides.
In fact, research to find out suitable chemicals for eradicating weeds in cultivated fields as well as in waste land is being extensively carried out in various agricultural universities and research institutes. Even biological control measures and biotechnological techniques are attempted to eradicate Parthenium. In order to control this weed, awareness camps are being conducted regularly in every colony as it has been done in villages for the farmers. Instructions are given to the citizens for effectively controlling Parthenium.
I used to watch carefully the growth behavior of this weed. At the onset of South West Monsoon, the plants emerge from the soil in rosette form by spreading it leaves close to the ground without an elongated stem. Only with the shower of rain, these plants look dark green as if we have applied good amount of nitrogenous fertilizer. I do not know how they got such green foliage. May be they mine the nutrients available in the waste-land. A month afterwards, I used to observe them to put forth elongated stem which grow to the size of about a meter with good number of branches with hundreds of tiny flower buds. This process is technically known as bolting. Once the plants reach such a stage, the pollen from the flowers fly in the air and animals and humans happen to inhale them and end up in irritation of body and develop allergy symptoms. I tried to pull out some of those plants which came up in front of my house. Fortunately I did not get the allergy, when I enquired with the weed specialists; they told me that it will affect only some susceptible people. I was happy that Parthenium is afraid of me.
Once the Parthenium blooms, the seeds – thousands of them are carried by wind and spread all around the place. The seeds settle on the dry soil and stay there, till another rain soaks them. They remain dormant for a long period of time in the dry soil. So it is evident that this weed remains as a menace for human beings. In residential areas, to control this and other weeds, the only way comes to my mind is to construct houses as soon as possible without leaving the plot vacant. No other method is in sight for the time being to get rid of Parthenium around the residential colony.
The Cheerleader: They cheer you on and believe in everything you do. When you mess up, they don’t even bat an eye. They keep you focused on how to push through, and are always on your side.
The Pusher: A pusher is someone who pushes you to be the best you can be. The pusher holds you accountable and doesn’t sit quietly when you goof up.
The loyal confidant: This is the person who loves you and will always be there to hear what’s on your mind; the good, bad and ugly. The loyal confidant not only listens but knows that any slip-ups you have don’t define you.
The Energizer: The energizer in your life will scoop you up and make you laugh when times are rough, reminding you to stay motivated when you want to give up.
The Best Friend: Your best friend is the one person that knows everything about you and loves every bit of you anyway! They can look at you from across the room and when you exchange looks know EXACTLY what you are thinking.
The Funny (Crazy) Friend: Funny friends remind you not to take yourself seriously; they make tense situations more comfortable with a single face gesture. These people truly can change your outlook on your day with just a single call or text.
v Say hello to everyone you meet
v Give directions to someone who’s lost
v Provide water to strays in this heat
v Don’t interrupt when someone is explaining herself
v Simply say “I’m sorry” when wrong
v Let someone go in front of you in line
v Hold open the door for someone
v Compliment the first three people you talk to today
v Buy a plant. Put it in a terracotta pot. Write positive words that describe a friend on the pot. Give it to that friend
v Everyone is important. Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk and other people you see every day
v Don’t write the angry comment you’re thinking about on social media
v When everyone around you is gossiping, be the one to be silent
v Cook a meal for someone
v Forgive someone, and never bring up the issue again
A man who made a fortune almost overnight was boasting to one of his cronies about his new estate with its three swimming pools, “but why three pools?” exclaimed the friend. “One has cold water,” the host explained, “one has hot water, and one has no water at all.” “One with cold water, I can understand. I can even see a reason for one with hot water,” conceded the friend. “But what’s the idea of a swimming pool with no water at all?” “You would be surprised, Joe,” the host confided sadly, “how many of my old friends don’t know how to swim.”
1. Change your environment, or leave the room.
2. Switch your thinking, or redirect your thoughts
3. Go outside and get some exercise
4. Listen to the music that usually lifts your mood
5. Look at those old photographs that always make you laugh
6. Text or call a friend who’s really going through tough times
7. Be nice to a stranger – play it forward – and be kind.