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Useful Tropical Plants

Plectranthus esculentus

N.E.Br.

Lamiaceae


Some species of Plectranthus are difficult to identify because of a lack of clear-cut morphological criteria to discriminate not only among species within the genus but also among the closely related genera. This has resulted in numerous taxonomic problems in the naming of species with the result that species have often been placed in several closely related genera like Coleus, Solenostemon and Englerastrum. In addition, some species formally placed in Plectranthus, are now recognized as the more distantly related genus Isodon.
Because of these taxonomic issues, different names have often been used for the same species of Plectranthus and thus it has been difficult to collate information about the ethnobotanical uses of this genus. Furthermore, the most commonly used medicinal species of Plectranthus have a high degree of synonymy[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
This report is very much indebted to the work of C.W. Lukhoba et al. - Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1–24[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
] in untangling much of this mess of names, and utilizes the on-line Kew database ‘World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (http://wcsp.science.kew.org/home.do) for determining currently accepted names and synonyms (as of 2018).

+ Synonyms

Coleus barbatus (Andrews) Benth.

Coleus coppinii Heckel

Coleus dazo A.Chev.

Coleus esculentus (N.E.Br.) G.Taylor

Coleus floribundus (N.E.Br.) Robyns & Lebrun

Coleus forskohlii Auct.

Coleus langouassiensis A.Chev.

Englerastrum floribundum (N.E.Br.) T.C.E.Fr.

Plectranthus floribundus N.E.Br.

Common Name: Livingstone Potato

Plectranthus esculentus
Roots
Photograph by: Scamperdale
Creative Commons License
Plectranthus esculentus Plectranthus esculentus Plectranthus esculentus

General Information

Plectranthus esculentus is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant growing around 1 metre tall[
1355
Title
Plants of the World online
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://powo.science.kew.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line database giving detailed descriptions of almost 40,000 species of plants (as of 2018), almost 25,000 images and a list of almost 850,000 plant names. A truly excellent resource and still growing.
]. The plant occasionally produces bulbils in the leaf axils[
1355
Title
Plants of the World online
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://powo.science.kew.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line database giving detailed descriptions of almost 40,000 species of plants (as of 2018), almost 25,000 images and a list of almost 850,000 plant names. A truly excellent resource and still growing.
].
The plant is cultivated in some parts of tropical Africa for its edible tubers[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in S. Africa[
1347
Title
Plectranthus: A plant for the future?
Publication
South African Journal of Botany 77 (2011) 947-959
Author
Rice L.J.; Brits G.J.; Potgieter C.J.; Van Staden J.
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
A review of the Plectranthus species with potential as economic plants
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Tropical Africa - Nigeria to the Central African Republic and DR Congo, south to Angola, Botswana, Swaziland, Tanzania and Mozambique..

Habitat

Dry slopes[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Plectranthus esculentus is a plant of the tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 28°c, but can tolerate 10 - 36°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 1,100mm, but tolerates 550 - 1,600mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Prefers a light, rich, well-drained soil and a position in full sun or light shade[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7, tolerating 6 - 7.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The plant is very adaptable and is said to be suitable for growing in any climatic region in S. Africa[
1347
Title
Plectranthus: A plant for the future?
Publication
South African Journal of Botany 77 (2011) 947-959
Author
Rice L.J.; Brits G.J.; Potgieter C.J.; Van Staden J.
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
A review of the Plectranthus species with potential as economic plants
]. Various cultivars have been developed in the different parts of tropical Africa where the plant is grown.
The tubers are ready to harvest about 6 - 7 months after planting[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Yields of 2 - 6 tonnes per hectare have been obtained[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].

Edible Uses

Root - raw or cooked[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. Rich in starch[
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.
]. Boiled or roasted and eaten like sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas)[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
]. Much esteemed by native peoples[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. Whilst the tubers are usually cooked, at least one cultivar (from northern Nigeria) has tubers that can be eaten raw[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. The tubers can be dried and stored for winter use[
1347
Title
Plectranthus: A plant for the future?
Publication
South African Journal of Botany 77 (2011) 947-959
Author
Rice L.J.; Brits G.J.; Potgieter C.J.; Van Staden J.
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
A review of the Plectranthus species with potential as economic plants
]. They are about 10cm long and 2cm in diameter[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].

The stems are used to sweeten gruels[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

Medicinal

The Livingstone potato is an aromatic herb that affects heart contractions and blood clotting[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The plant also has cytotoxic and anti-tumour promoting activity and can be used in the treatment of cancer[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].

A traditional treatment in India, the herb is used to treat a wide range of digestive problems including, wind, bloating and abdominal discomfort[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It has an antispasmodic action, making it valuable in the treatment of respiratory complaints, including asthma and bronchitis[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It is used as a remedy for headaches and is also said to be anthelmintic[
1346
Title
Plectranthus: A review of ethnobotanical uses
Publication
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1-24
Author
Lukhoba C.W.; Simmonds M.S.J.; Paton A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent guide to the uses of Plectranthus species, giving the basic uses and the literature supporting this.
].
Applied topically, the plant is used to treat skin conditions[
1347
Title
Plectranthus: A plant for the future?
Publication
South African Journal of Botany 77 (2011) 947-959
Author
Rice L.J.; Brits G.J.; Potgieter C.J.; Van Staden J.
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
A review of the Plectranthus species with potential as economic plants
].

The plant contains the substance forskolin[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. Research has shown that forskolin has various medical properties including: it lowers high blood pressure; it relaxes the smooth muscle; it increases the release of hormones from the thyroid gland, it stimulates digestive secretions; and it reduces pressure within the eye[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It has been under scientific investigation as a possible treatment for congestive heart disease, glaucoma and chronic bronchial disease[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

Other Uses

The leaves have a strong camphoraceous aroma and are used as a body rub to cleanse and deodorize the skin[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Propagation

Seed - not normally used for propagation[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Cuttings about 10 - 20cm long[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. They can be difficult to root[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Division of sprouting tubers[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Bulbils. Produced in the leaf axils, these can be potted up and grown on until large enough to plant out.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-06-20. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Plectranthus+esculentus>

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