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[
This report is very much indebted to the work of C.W. Lukhoba et al. - Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1–24[
] 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).
Germanea australis (R.Br.) Britten
Germanea parviflora Poir.
Lumnitzera moschata (R.Br.) Spreng.
Majana parviflora (Poir.) Kuntze
Moschosma austral (R.Br.) Benth.
Moschosma brownii Heynh.
Moschosma moschatum (R.Br.) Druce
Plectranthus australis R.Br.
Plectranthus klossii S.Moore
Plectranthus moschatus R.Br.
Plectranthus paniculatus Jacq.
Plectranthus parviflorus Spreng.
Plectranthus sieberi Benth.
Common Name: Sudan Potato
Plectranthus parviflorus is a spreading herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of erect succulent stems that can become more or less woody at the base[
]. It grows from a small, tuberous rootstock[
]. When grown at lower elevations in good soils the plant can be up to 100cm tall, but is more likely to be about 20cm tall when grown in poorer soils and higher elevations.
The plant is cultivated in some parts of tropical Asia and Africa for the edible tubers[
]. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
E. Asia - Malaysia to Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Rocky, steep slopes, dry forest, savannah grassland, limestone cliffs, old garden lands; at elevations from 400 - 2,200 metres, occasionally descending to 60 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Plectranthus parviflorus is a plant of drier tropical and subtropical areas[
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 28°c, but can tolerate 6 - 36°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 1,700mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 2,300mm[
]. Plants can produce a crop with as little as 100mm of rainfall[
Grows best in a sunny position in a well-drained soil, preferably sandy to loamy[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7[
The tubers are produced in clusters at the base of the stems - they are ready about 4 - 5 months after planting[
Yields of 3.7 - 7.5 tonnes per hectare have been obtained[
The plant is sometimes cultivated for its edible tubers[
], and is also sometimes grown as an ornamental - several named ornamental forms have been developed[
All parts of the plant are aromatic[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. Boiled or baked like potatoes, and used as a vegetable[
Leaves - cooked[
]. The aromatic leaves are occasionally used as a vegetable[
A poultice of the leaves, or a wash made from an infusion of them, is used as a treatment for syphilitic sores[
The plant has been shown to contain compounds that inhibit HIV-1 integrase[
Plants easily reseed themselves around the mother plant. They can easily be re-planted to other locations or be allowed to remain to form a loose groundcover[
Seed - not normally used for propagation[
Cuttings about 10 - 20cm long[
Division of sprouting tubers[
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