Chromolaena odorata belongs to the family Asteraceae of the Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons). It is a fast growing shrubby perennial that forms dense bushes about 2.5 to 6 m (8.2 to 19.6 ft.) tall when climbing on other plants. The leaves are lanceolate, pubescent, with a serrate margin, and grow opposite. The stems branch freely and develop lateral branches in pairs. The older parts of the stems are brown and woody near the base; the tips and young shoots are succulent with a green to purplish brown color. The root system is fibrous and does not penetrate beyond 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) in most soils. The flower heads are borne in terminal corymbs of 20 to 60 heads on all stems and branches. The flowers are white or pale lilac and when dry have a feathery aspect.

It occurs mostly in disturbed semi-arid and humid areas such as forests, agricultural lands, pasturelands, riparian areas, etc. In Puerto Rico, it is invading mostly pasturelands in the southern hills and flat lands but it has been observed through the island and the US Virgin Islands. It is used in folklore medicine.

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