Dorstenia houstonii L.
Dorstenia maculata Lem.
Dorstenia quadrangularis Stokes
Common Name: Snakewort
Photograph by: Jim Conrad
Snakewort is a low-growing, evergreen perennial plant with a creeping rhizome, leaves up to 20cm long on stems up to 25cm long[
The root is often gathered from the wild and used medicinally. The plant is also abundantly cultivated for its medicinal uses in Indonesia and Malaysia, and locally in Africa and South America[
Northern S. America - Peru, north through central America to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Moist forest or thickets, ascending from sea level to about 1,800 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Prefers a moist, humus-rich, fertile soil[
The plant is well known in Central America because of its use in domestic medicine[
]. The name 'contrahierba,' employed by Linnaeus as the specific name of this widespread species, is normally used in Spanish to designate plants of supposed outstanding value as counteragents for poisons[
The root contains an antidote to snake venom, and is also used as a febrifuge[
]. The plant is a common household remedy for dysentery and is also employed in treating bites of poisonous animals of all kinds[
Plants can be used as groundcover in shady positions[
In North and Central America, a powder of the rootstocks and leaves are mixed with tobacco for improving the taste of cigarettes[
Seed - germinates well at a temperature of 16 - 21°c[
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