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Useful Tropical Plants

Cestrum nocturnum

L.

Solanaceae

+ Synonyms

Cestrum hirtellum Schltdl.

Cestrum scandens Thib. ex Dunal

Cestrum suberosum Jacq.

Common Name: Lady Of The Night

Cestrum nocturnum
Flowering plant (the flowers only open in the dark)
Photograph by: Cary Bass
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Cestrum nocturnum Cestrum nocturnum Cestrum nocturnum Cestrum nocturnum Cestrum nocturnum Cestrum nocturnum

General Information

Lady of the night is an evergreen shrub growing up to 3.5 metres tall.
The plant is widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics, mainly as an ornamental and hedge plant, but also sometimes for its medicinal uses[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant are poisonous[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. The toxic principles are solanine-type glyco-alkaloids and atropine-like alkaloids. The symptoms are headache, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, muscular spasms and nervousness, high temperature, salivation and sweating, paralysis and coma[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean - Cuba.

Habitat

Moist and wet forests and open areas, often forming dense, impenetrable thickets[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height3.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

The mature plant is hardy to about -4°c, but without protection, the new growth is likely to be killed at around 1°c[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
].
Grows well in full sun and in light shade[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
]. Succeeds in any reasonably fertile, free-draining soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The species has been introduced as an ornamental in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It has became widely naturalized and is sometimes invasive, forming dense impenetrable stands which limit the regeneration of native species[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].
Plants can be pruned annually after flowering in order to keep them compact[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
].
The greenish white flowers, which open at night, are powerfully fragrant[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
]. At a distance the aroma resembles that of valerian, but at close range it is rank and overpowering[
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

The leaves are cooked in fat with tortillas[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. This is a very suspect report since the leaves are aid to be poisonous[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

An extract of the plant is used as an antispasmodic and as a treatment for epilepsy[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].

Various studies have been carried out on the medicinal virtues of the plant. One study isolated two new flavonoid glycosides and seven steroidal saponins. The study reports cytotoxic activities of the compounds against human oral squamous cell carcinoma and normal human gingival fibroblasts[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].
Decoctions of the dried leaves were not effective against pharmacologically induced convulsions, but repeated administration reduced the amplitude of epileptic spikes in both primary and secondary foci. Results suggest the plant possesses analgesic activity through a peripheral mechanism[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].
Both aqueous and methanol extracts of the plant have shown bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus and various other bacteria[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].
In laboratory tests, extracts of the plant were shown to inhibit tumour growth and prolong the lifetime in a dose-dependent manner[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is grown as an ornamental hedge[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed -
Soft tip cuttings.
Cuttings of semi-ripe wood, 8 - 10cm long[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Comments

Saúl Guzmán Mora 13th February 2016 9:29
In many locations of Costa Rica, people consume the leaves of Cestrum racemosum, is widely popular cooked in a variaty of ways, and regarded as highly nutritious. Locally known as zorrillo.

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