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Useful Tropical Plants

Lessertia frutescens

(L.) Goldblatt & J.C.Manning

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Colutea frutescens L.

Sutherlandia frutescens (L.) R.Br.

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Lessertia frutescens is a prostrate to erect, deciduous shrub growing from 50 - 170cm tall[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
].
The plant is a popular medicinal herb in southern Africa, where it is often harvested from the wild. It is also grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its fine form, striking colour and luminous flowers[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.

Range

Southern Africa - Namibia, Botswana, S. Africa, Lesotho

Habitat

In low rainfall areas with low shrubs and sparse ground cover, on sandy soils, often on roadsides and disturbed areas; at elevations around 1,000 metres[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height1.20 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsSunbirds
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Lessertia frutescens is a plant of the warm temperate to tropical regions of southern Africa, growing mainly in semi-arid regions. It is not very cold hardy, able to tolerate short periods with temperatures falling to around -5°c, so long as it is growing in a freely draining soil and summers have been sufficiently warm to fully ripen the wood[
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.
]. It usually grows where there is a distinct dry season, butis found inboth summer rainfall and winter rainfall regions[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
A tough plant that does well in full sun and tolerates all soil types[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
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.
,
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
A fast-growing, but short-lived species[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Plants seed themselves readily, so that as the older plants start to look past their best they can be removed[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]
The fruit is a large, bladder-like, papery inflated pod and is almost transparent. It can be used in dry flower arrangements as it dries well, maintaining its colour and form[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
The plant is quite pest resistant[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Lessertia frutescens has a long history of herbal use in S. Africa. It is said to be a good general medicine and a useful bitter tonic, and that a little taken before meals will aid digestion and improve the appetite[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. It has become one of the most talked about medicinal herbs in the ethnobotanical world because of its strong reputation as a cure for cancer and increasingly as an immune system booster in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Research on its properties is ongoing[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

The leaves and stems have a very bitter flavour. They are anticancer, antiseptic, bitter tonic, blood purifier[
395
Title
Pharmaceutical monographs for 60 South African plant species
Publication
 
Author
Scott, G. and Springfield, E.P.
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs
Publisher
 
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A series of 60 monographs of S. African medicinal plants. Well written, with information on traditional uses and modern research into the plants.
]. They are used mainly as an aqueous infusion or decoction, either internally or externally as an antiseptic wash, eye lotion or douche[
395
Title
Pharmaceutical monographs for 60 South African plant species
Publication
 
Author
Scott, G. and Springfield, E.P.
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs
Publisher
 
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A series of 60 monographs of S. African medicinal plants. Well written, with information on traditional uses and modern research into the plants.
].
With its strong tonic effect upon the body, the plant is a useful aid in the treatment of a wide range of conditions. An infusion or decoction is taken internally in the treatment of conditions as diverse as cancer, gastric ailments, diarrhoea and dysentery, chicken pox. gynaecological problems, backache, rheumatism, oedema and fevers[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
395
Title
Pharmaceutical monographs for 60 South African plant species
Publication
 
Author
Scott, G. and Springfield, E.P.
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs
Publisher
 
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A series of 60 monographs of S. African medicinal plants. Well written, with information on traditional uses and modern research into the plants.
]. It is also used to treat colds, 'flu, asthma, TB, bronchitis, liver problems, haemorrhoids, diabetes, varicose veins and inflammation[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. It is also used in the treatment of mental and emotional stress, including irritability, anxiety and depression and is used as a gentle tranquillizer[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Externally, it is used in the treatment of eye infections, as a wash for wounds; and as a douche for prolapse of the uterus[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
395
Title
Pharmaceutical monographs for 60 South African plant species
Publication
 
Author
Scott, G. and Springfield, E.P.
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs
Publisher
 
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A series of 60 monographs of S. African medicinal plants. Well written, with information on traditional uses and modern research into the plants.
].

Whole fruits may be chewed for the relief of stomach pains[
395
Title
Pharmaceutical monographs for 60 South African plant species
Publication
 
Author
Scott, G. and Springfield, E.P.
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs
Publisher
 
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A series of 60 monographs of S. African medicinal plants. Well written, with information on traditional uses and modern research into the plants.
].

Investigations of different collections of this herb suggests that it is biochemically variable and that distinct chemical races of the species may exist in different parts of its distribution range. These may vary in potency and bioactivity[
395
Title
Pharmaceutical monographs for 60 South African plant species
Publication
 
Author
Scott, G. and Springfield, E.P.
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs
Publisher
 
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A series of 60 monographs of S. African medicinal plants. Well written, with information on traditional uses and modern research into the plants.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Because they are fast and tough, they also work quite well as pioneers in a new garden, where they give cover and colour while the slower growing perennials get going[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]

Other Uses

An extract of the leaves is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an antimicrobial[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in a well-drained soil in a seedtray. Germination is improved if seeds are left to soak for about 4 hours or overnight in water hot enough for you to put your hand in. Keep the seed trays warm (not hot) and damp but not wet. Germination should occur in 2 - 3 weeks and seedlings can be transplanted as soon as they are large enough to handle[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]
Cuttings of half-ripe wood in a frame[
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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-07-23. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Lessertia+frutescens>

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