Parsonsia hyssopifolia (Kunth) Standl.
Cuphea hyssopifolia is a much-branched, erect to spreading, evergreen shrub; it can grow 20 - 70cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and insecticide. It is often grown as an ornamental in the tropics - in the temperate zone it can be grown as a summer bedding plant.
S. America - Bolivia to Ecuador; C. America - Panama to Mexico
Banks of rivers and streams, moist forests; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Insects, Humming birds
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Species in this genus generally prefer a position in full sun, but are tolerant of partial shade. They generally grow best in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils[
Often grown as an ornamental, the plant has sometimes escaped from cultivation and become naturalized. It is considered to be invasive in some countries such as New Zealand and Hawaii
The seed of Cuphea species is generally a good source of medium length fatty acids, which have a range of industrial and cosmetic applications and can also be used in foods[
]. Several species are being trialled as seed oil crops in temperate zone countries, though they are unlikely to become a commercial crop in the tropics simply because it is so much easier to grow oil crops such as palm oil (Elaeis species) and coconut (Cocos nucifera).
This is one of several Central American plants whose habitat is almost wholly confined to large rocks along the edges of usually swift streams. These rocks project above the mean level of the stream, but during times of heavy rain the plants often are covered by rushing water. Most of these plants, obviously, have tough stems that are able to withstand the debris carried by the often rapid currents of water[
The leaves and flowers of are used as a tonic and in the treatment of fevers and coughs[
The plant is a rich source of phenolic compounds which have been shown to have a strong antioxidant activity[
The leaves and flowers of are used as an insecticide[
We have no specific information for this species but, although rather small, the seed of Cuphea species is generally a good source of medium length fatty acids[
Industrial oils made from these fatty acids have a range of uses, including as a defoaming agent; a booster for soaps and detergents; and in health and beauty products[
]. They can also be used in foods, mostly as vegetable shortenings.
Seed - can be sown in situ[
]. Germination usually takes a few weeks because of the hard seed coat.
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