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Useful Tropical Plants

Smilax febrifuga

Kunth

Smilacaceae


The world checklist of plants gives the correct name for this species as Smilax purhampuy Ruiz. However, other authorities are still using S. Febrifuga, a name we will stick with for the meantime[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Smilax purhampuy Ruiz

Common Name: Ecuadorian Sarsaparilla

Smilax febrifuga
Ripening fruits
Photograph by: Bruce Gray
Creative Commons License
Smilax febrifuga Smilax febrifuga

General Information

Ecuadorian sarsaparilla is a perennial climbing plant, producing prickly stems up to 15 metres long from the rhizomatous rootstock[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
This is one of the main species that supply commercial sarsaparilla - the rhizomes being used medicinally and as a flavouring in foods. The rhizomes are also used locally and are sold in local markets for medicinal use[
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.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

S. America - Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana.

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
HabitClimber
Height12.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in sun or partial shade[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Tolerant of a range of soil types[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Root extracts are used to flavour soft drinks ice cream, confectionery and bakery products[
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.
].

Medicinal

Ecuadorian sarsaparilla (the roots and rhizome) is a sweet, acrid, alterative herb that reduces inflammation, controls itching, improves digestion and elimination and is antiseptic[
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.
].
This is one of three species (the others are S. Aristolochiifolia and S. regelii) that gained a high reputation in the 17th century as cure-alls[
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.
]. They were widely imported into Europe until early in the 20th century, by which time their rather overrated reputation had waned somewhat. However, the plants do have a number of important medicinal benefits - in particular, their roots contain steroidal saponins which are an efective treatment for many cases of psoriasis; they also have hormonal effects, and may improve fertility in women with ovarian dysfunction[
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 rhizomes are alterative, digestive, febrifuge[
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.
,
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.
]. A decoction is used in the treatment of fevers, digestive disorders, kidney troubles and gonorrhoea[
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.
]. It is also used against scrophulus, skin diseases and rheumatism[
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.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed -

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