Loranthus americanus L.
Loranthus calyculatus DC.
Psittacanthus americanus (L.) Mart.
Psittacanthus chrismarii Urb.
Psittacanthus calyculatus is a hemiparasitic shrub, growing in the branches of a number of broad-leafed tree species[
]. Ranging from a small to rather large shrub 1 metre or more tall, it is usually erect and can be sparsely or much branched[
The plant is gathered from the wild for a range of local medicinal uses. The plants are very showy when in flower, but they often grow high on the branches of tall trees, where they can be studied only from a distance[
Central America - Panama to Mexico.
Parasitic on a range of broad-leafed trees, particularly Spondias purpurea in Guatemala where it can be found at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
]. Seasonally very dry deciduous forests in Costa Rica[
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A plant of tropical areas, it is found mainly at higher elevations from 1,500 - 2,300 metres, but is also sometimes found at lower elevations almost to sea level.
Fruit black or purple-black, very juicy, oval, 1-1.5 cm long[
The plant has resolutive, vulnerary, emmenagogue, and abortifacient properties. It is employed in the treatment of chorea, asthma, hysteria, and all spasmodic affections. It is used also as a depurative in chronic syphilitic affections[
A decoction of the leaves is used as a diuretic[
Applied externally, the leaves are employed as emollient poultices[
]. A decoction of the leaves and flowers is used for treating wounds[
The leaves and flowers, distilled in water, are used as a cosmetic[
When the base of the plant is pulled away from the host tree, they leave behind curious scars known as 'flores de palo' (flowers of wood). These scars, somewhat resemble conventional rosettes of architectural decorations it. These 'wood flowers' are often kept in houses for decorations, sometimes embellished with gold and silver paint, and are also occasionally sold in tourist shops[
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