Asclepias schinziana (Schltr.) Schltr.
Gomphocarpus schinzianus Schltr.
Pachycarpus schinzianus is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing several unbranched, erect, annual stems 30 - 60cm tall from an underground rootstock[
The plant contains bitter-tasting glycosides. Although browsed plants are frequently encountered in the wild, experiments have shown the plants to be poisonous to sheep and guinea-pigs, which have died within one to two days after consuming the plants[
Southern Africa - southern Zimbabwe, S. Africa.
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Found mainy in subtropical S. Africa, the range extends up into the tropical areas of southern Zimbabwe.
As with many members of this family that have a deep rootstock, it is quite difficult to cultivate the plants. Plants of this genus generally have quite spectacular flowers but these only last a few days; the fruit and stems are not very attractive and the stems die back after fruiting and in the colder months. All this probably discourages growers to even attempt cultivation[
The thick underground rootstock is essential for the survival of the plants during the cold winter months and is also a mechanism that helps to avoid destruction of the entire plant during the fires that are common throughout the distribution range[
The plant contains bitter-tasting gylcosides and is widely used in S. Africa in the treatment of a wide range of ailments[
The powdered root is a remedy for haemorrhoids. Concoctions of the roots have been used to treat dropsy, dysentery and even snakebite[
The rootstock is mixed with the pounded root of Xysmalobium undulatum to make Uzara medicine, which is used in the treamtent of diarrhoea, dysentery and to soothe after-birth cramps. It is also used as a tonic for the cardiovascular system[
Zulu people use the roots as a treatment for indigestion, malaria and other fevers (including typhoid fever)[
Xhosas use infusions of the root to treat colic and abdominal troubles and sniff the dried pounded roots to relieve headaches[
All parts of the plant are extremely bitter and are used in various decoctions and infusions as an emetic, diuretic and purgative[
The plant is taken (part not specified) as a remedy against syphilis and as an aid to conception[
The milky latex is rubbed on animal skins before they are set out to dry to prevent dogs from tearing them. Crushed leaves are also rubbed on the legs to repel dogs[
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