Some recent publications, such as the Flora of North America[
], are now treating this species as part of Plumbago zeylanica[
Common Name: Devil's Herb
Devil's herb is an evergreen shrub up to 1 metre tall with branches that can be erect, grow along the ground or climb up into other plants for support[
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local medicinal use.
The entire plant is poisonous[
S. America - Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, north through the Caribbean to Florida and through Central America to Mexico, Texas and Arizona.
Hedgebanks, on fences, in thickets and waste places on sandy and gravelly soils from sea level to about 375 metres in Jamaica[
]. Moist or dry thickets, sometimes in hedges or waste ground in Guatemala[
Prefers a well-drained, fertile soil and a sunny position[
Plants can flower and produce seed all year round[
The roots and the leaves are vesicant, causing blisters when applied to the skin[
]. The juice is applied externally as a remedy for warts[
When the crushed leaves are applied to the skin they cause almost instantaneous rubefaction, and in a very short
]. They have been used in the past by beggars to cause sores on the body and thus evoke pity[
The leaves are sometimes applied externally as a remedy for itch and other cutaneous diseases[
]. They act by increasing blood flow to the area, thus enabling toxins to be removed more rapidly.
An infusion of the leaves is sometimes administered as an emetic or purgative, although such use must be rather dangerous[
The roots are used to treat toothaches[
]. The juice of the root is used to treat running ulcers[
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