, commonly known as , bluemink, blueweed, pussy foot or Mexican paintbrush, is a cool-season annual plant often grown as beeding in gardens.
The plant is native to Central America in Guatemala and Belize, and adjacent parts of Mexico, but has become an invasive weed in other areas. It was also naturalized in large parts of the tropics and in the southern United States. Their habitat is pastures, moist forest clearings and bushes up to altitudes of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).
Today, it is widely used as an ornamental plant for summer borders and balcony boxes, high varieties also as cut flowers. The species is cultivated once a year, having numerous varieties whose crowns may be dark blue, purple, pink and white. Preferring cool soils and exposure in full sun, high varieties reach stature heights up to 60 centimetres (24 in).
Floss Flower is an annual herb, 30-80 cm. Stems are erect to prostrate, sparsely to densely hairy. Leaf blades are triangular to ovate, mostly 3-8 x 2.5-4 cm, margins toothed, lower faces sparsely to densely hairy, not evidently gland-dotted. Flower-cluster-stalks are sticky-finely velvet-hairy, hairy, and stipitate-glandular. Involucres about 4 x 5–6 mm. Phyllaries narrowly lanceshaped, 0.601 mm wide, stipitate-glandular, sparsely to densely hairy, efringed with hairs or inprominently fringed with hairs, tips gradually tapering, indurate-subulate, 0.8–2 mm. Flowers are usually lavender to purple, rarely white. Floss Flower is native to C. America, widely naturalized in India and elsewhere. Flowering: June-October.
It is widely utilized in traditional medicine by various cultures worldwide, although applications vary by region. In Central Africa it is used to treat pneumonia, but the most common use is to cure wounds and burns. Traditional communities in India use this species as a bacteriocide, antidysenteric, and antilithic and in Asia, South America, and Africa, aqueous extract of this plant is used as a bacteriocide. In Cameroon and Congo, traditional use is to treat fever, rheumatism, headache, and colic. In Reunion, the whole plant is used as an antidysenteric . The use of this species in traditional medicine is extensive in Brazil. Aqueous extracts of leaves or whole plants have been used to treat colic, colds and fevers, diarrhea, rheumatism, spasms, or as a tonic. Floss Flower has quick and effective action in burn wounds and is recommended by Brazilian Drugs Central as an antirheumatic.