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Weedy herb; leaves simple, alternate, sessile, nearly sessile; flowers on spikes at stem apex and from uppermost nodes, white; fruits green, with three recurved, tightly appressed spines.
As indicated by the specific epithet, "alliacea," the plant has a strong onion or garlic-like odor when crushed. Both the Mayan (paay che') and Spanish (zorillo) mean "skunk," another reference to the odorous qualities of the plant. Standley records numerous medicinal uses in treatment of rheumatism, boils, and paralysis. Further, it has been used as an antispasmotic, diaphoretic, and in the detection of health-related witchcraft.