The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Mikania

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MIKANIA, also known as WILLUGHBEIA (both Neo-Latin from the names of J. C. Mikan and Francis Willughby, respectively), a genus of composite plants of the tribe Eupatorieæ and sub-tribe Agerateæ. It is widespread throughout tropical and temperate America and grows either in an erect shrub or in twining vines. The genus numbers more than 150 recognized varieties, all natives of the warmer regions of America, except one species which grows in Asia and tropical Africa. The plant is characterized by opposite leaves, heart-shaped or triangular, toothed at the base and with petioles. The flowers are small and white, pinkish or yellowish. The tropical types, M. amara, M. cordifolia and M. guaco, have a high reputation in South America for the cure of snake bite, and administration of a medicine made from them is also supposed to render one immune to snake bite. There is no scientific proof of the efficacy of the herb either as remedy or preventive. M. scandens is the familiar climbing hempweed, with abundant pink flowers, growing in moist soil from Long Island to Texas.